Darkness he routinely mentions the natives of Africa as prehistoric men. He compares them to children and demons claiming they are uncivilized. This view was commonplace in the west during the end of the 19th century. In the book Arrow of God It Is clear China Achebe disagrees with this notion of Africans being prehistoric. Achebe attempts to educate us on the customs and values of the Murmur people in Nigeria. He writes in depth about murmur’s greetings, values, religion, rituals, and many other aspects of life in this part of Africa. In
Achebe’s novel he Is able to refute the west’s Idea of Africans as uncivilized and prehistoric through his description of murmur’s culture. The people of murmur live a very traditional and structured life. This all begins with greetings. If you were to imagine an uncivilized, child-like society would you expect to find a complex welcoming ritual? However, in Murmur there are very strict guidelines to greetings. A person entering a kinsman’s blob Is expected to abide by these rules of Interaction. Upon sitting down inside a friend’s Obi the visitor is invited to draw his personal symbol with chalk on the floor.
He is then expected to mark himself in the way determined by his rank In society. As a measure of goodwill the host should provide a coolant to be broken. Even though this greeting Is important and necessary It can sometimes be tedious, and this leads to Equable complaining, “Must you worry about coolants every time? I am not a stranger (Achebe 95). The coolant is broken into lobes by pressing outward on it with the palms of both hands, and the lobes are passed around to each visitor and host as refreshment.
Greetings play a big part In the formality of society In murmur; without an appropriate greeting business could tot be expected to go smoothly. The decision making process in Murmur is very efficient and interesting. The male elders of the six Murmur villages have a very Important task of making sure things run smoothly for all the people. In order to communicate that there Is an Issue that needs to be discussed an elder gets a special drummer to beat a rhythm on the kilo that imparts the information needed to arrange a meeting of the leaders. Once the gathering has been arranged all the elders assemble at the designated time and place.
Achebe explains, “The meeting takes place under the timeless gobo tree… [Where] generations of murmur elders had at to take weighty decisions” (Achebe 142). All the greeting formalities for large meetings are conducted, and then the person who arranged the meeting will speak about the issue. A great example of this decision making format is when Zulu was asked to appear before Captain Wintertime In Kopeck, a neighboring community. Zulu, although he claims to have made the decision before the meeting, calls the elders to discuss the implications of such a request by the white man.
The leaders engage in an open discussion about the consequences of Useless friendship with the white man known as the breaker of guns. This again shows the complexity and Intellectual nature of the Murmur villages. All decisions determined In this format are made with the best interest of the people in mind. Throughout Arrow of God 1 OFF many values are portrayed Day ten way natives act, Ana ten proverbs Tanat are uses One proverb that is extremely important in the culture of Murmur goes something like this; “A fly with no one to advise it follows the corpse into the ground” (Achebe 226).
This proverb shows the significance of quality leadership in Murmur. An intellectual society searches for the greatest good for the greatest number of people, ND many times this requires following someone’s advice. Most of the time a person will know better than you and it is always a good idea to heed that persons advice. An example of one person following another person’s lead is a son listening to his father. This is an extremely important theme throughout Achebe’s book. Zulu tells his sons many times that a father never lies to his son.
Equable, who always has important advice for Zulu and his family, backs him up on this point, thus it can be assumed that this is a relatively universal belief through the villages. Equable even says, “a an can swear before the most dreaded deity on what his father told him” (Achebe 98). It is also important for children to obey and show respect for their father. This can be seen many times in Murmur. Pokka challenges his mother when she questions Zulu not finishing the yams and calling for the New Yam Festival. He asks her “what is he to do?
Disobey Lulu? ” (Achebe 212). This not only shows the respect he has for his father, but also for traditions and divinity. Another important part of life in Murmur is the search for knowledge. There are many different kinds of intellect in the six villages. There are people trained in the mystical ways of medicine as well as people who know everything about the festivals and rituals of Murmur. In Murmur culture it is very important to carry out rituals perfectly, such as marriages, in order to avoid bad luck, and the wrath of the gods.
Gods must be appeased with the proper sacrifices and rituals. The priests of the deities hold information that has been passed down for generations. Most of the people in Murmur love songs. When the colonizers are forcing boys in the village to build a road for them even Wright mentions how incredible their ability is to improvise songs. The people in this region of Nigeria have all sorts of different songs for different occasions, and this is Just one element of their creative genius. Not only are they musically inclined they are also gifted artists.
Useless own son Doge is an exceptional carver. Carvers like Doge and other working class men hold the villages together like glue, and are vital to the many rituals of Murmur. Zulu sending his son Douche to the school of the white man is the greatest example of Murmur’s thirst for knowledge. Zulu realizes that he can learn a lot from the colonizers in all their great power. In an attempt to learn some things from them, and keep an eye out, Zulu asks his son to be his eyes and ears in the church of the administration.
This shows that, unlike prehistoric men, Zulu is intuitive and realizes the danger, and the potential wisdom to be gained, from the white man. Murmur is very interested in gaining as much knowledge as they can. The villagers have set up an interesting economic design. It seems to be mostly based on barter, but some natives have decided to try and enter the white man’s trade of tobacco. This demonstrates ambition, definitely not a trait of primitive men. The villages have set up a market system. On market days everyone brings their goods to the market and attempts to sell things, and procure whatever it is they need.
When the New Yam Festival was being postponed by Zulu those who needed yams to survive were able to get them from the market. Trade routes have been established Detente keeper Ana murmur. When receiving services to Ana Trot can toner teen make offers of things such as yams, livestock, and snuff. It takes an advanced society to understand the intricacies of economy. As is clear to see Murmur is a very interesting culture. It is full of long standing rituals and traditions that are very important to their way of life.
They are a functioning community that has defined values, and are far from being prehistoric or child-like. Contrasting from the west’s and Joseph Concord’s depiction of Africans Achebe shows us that these people have a real culture. They have an economy, they have values, morals, and they have curiosity. The villages are always seeking more knowledge and respect those that have more wisdom than them. A society that has its own language, and creates proverbs as powerful as Murmur has does not deserve to be called prehistoric.