Tribal Aspect in the Ibo Culture: Status By: Emanuel Lopez

You cannot simply overcome your opponent with feelings and morals, it takes skill and power, and people with power will greatly surpass those who are below them.....This idea can be portrayed to display the Igbo culture's beliefs within the novel.

Reputation and status is extremely important to the men in the novel. Personal reputation is publicly displayed by the ankle bracelets men wear, which reveals the number of “titles” these men have earned. Reputation is based on worthiness – men gain reputation through bravery in battle, skill at wrestling, and hard work as seen through the size of their yam harvest. Reputation earns men power which lead to positions and influence in the community as well as various wives. (Shmoop Editorial Team)

The novel's protagonist, Okonkwo, is extremely concerned with reputation because he grew up with a father who was shameful and lazy. Okonkwo makes up for the shame by working tirelessly on his farm and taking every opportunity available to prove his bravery and strength as well as to display his brutal behavior. (Shmoop Editorial Team)

However, although Okonkwo had an unsuccessful father, "among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father", one the tribal's beliefs, so thus, Okonkwo endured a rough life by working hard to achieve his high reputation and status within his community and his men peers.

(Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart)


  • Shmoop Editorial Team. "Things Fall Apart Theme of Respect and Reputation." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
  • Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: Heinemann, 1965. Print. Pg.8
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