Still Falling Apart

Posted by in Uncategorized

While reading the Crucible, I was reminded of the scene where Ezinma leads folks to her iyi-uwa (a stone that the ogbanje used as a link between worlds so they could “die and return again to torment [their] mother[s]” (Achebe 81)). Since my belief system does not involve ogbanje, I felt while reading that Ezinma was leading her parents and the medicine man on. Just as the people in the Crucible bowed to external pressures when confessing and convicting others, Ezinma leads them to her iyi-uwa and admits to being an ogbanje only because that is what is expected of her (like in the Crucible, the alternative to not confessing is certain punishment). Ezinma is a lot like the Betty and Ruth (and Mary Warren a bit too) in that she is sick and weak when infected with the spirit that is harming her.

Additionally, when Cheever and Herrick come to John and Elizabeth’s house to take her away, it reminds me of the scenes in Things Fall Apart where some of the Ibo men destroy Okonkwo’s compound, or destroy the church. They aren’t acting out of personal frustration but are delivering “the justice of the earth goddess, and they were merely her messengers” (Achebe 125). Cheever often seems shy, uncomfortable, and sorry about the role he plays in the arrests of the townsfolk, but he is merely the messenger of the courts, and, according to his beliefs, of God.

I’m not quite sure what to do with these connections, or if there is even any significance to be found within them (apart from the common theme of the ‘falling apart’ of societies and individuals (both Proctor (and pretty much most of the adults in the Crucible) and Okonkwo).