I agree with the traditionalist critics mentioned in Wendy Griswold’s essay who believe that the Nigerian novel is a reflection of the Nigerian’s culture and should not be compared with the English novel.  I believe that the Nigerian novel expresses both the particular and the universal.  In Chinua Achebe’s novel there are themes that are both universal and particular such as patriarchy, the mistreatment of women, and rituals.  The patriarchy that exists in the novel represents both the Western and African male need to dominate women.  In the case of the Nigerian man polygamy is the common practice as it relates to marriage.  Although Mormon also practice polygamy throughout the West it is frowned upon and there are laws against the practice of men marrying multiple wives. Some of the customs I fin very disturbing like the fact that Okonkwo drank palm wine out of a human head.  The fact that in his village his father and others whose illness could not be explained in medical terms were condemned to be tied to a tree when they died and were not buried but their bodies were allowed to rot.  The customs that the Nigerians believed in concerning domestic violence against one of Okonkwo’s wives is chilling.  The fact that it was only believed to be a crime against their god of agriculture during the Week of Peace but no so any other time of the year is disturbing.


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