Thursday, March 28, 2013

Obanje/Magical Realism/Supernatural Forces

I'd like to draw a comparison between Beloved and Things Fall Apart in regard to an obanje that can be seen in both stories. The character Beloved can be seen as an obanje and the character Ezinma is thought to be an obanje by the medicine man and somewhat by her parents. In Things Fall Apart, the obanje is similar to the return of the character Beloved in Beloved as both are bad omens and foreshadow the bringing of bad luck and hardship to their respective families. Supernatural sources and the practice of magical realism can be seen in Beloved as the ghost of Sethe’s murdered child, Beloved, haunts 124. Also, the fact the Beloved comes back as an incarnation of the ghost and dead child is very supernatural and certainly a demonstration of magical realism. Supernatural forces and magical realism can be seen in Things Fall Apart as the clan believes in the obanje coming back to haunt a family whose child has died in birth or at a young age. Supernatural forces and magical realism can also be seen in the belief that twins are bad luck for the community and they must be thrown into the Evil Forest (another example of supernatural forces and magical realism). Both cultures believed in some aspect of supernatural forces and were constantly superstitious of either offending the gods (Things Fall Apart) or offending the spirit inhabiting 124 (Beloved).

4 comments:

Grant Reggio said...

Drawing back on the aspect of evil that we associate with the Obanje in their supernatural essence, it's also worthy to point out Beloved's role as a succubus when she tempts Paul D. It's mentioned in the book that "she moved him" and this, when taken into consideration with supernatural and magical aura that emanates from Beloved, implies not only that Beloved physically moved Paul D. away from Sethe, but also in a mental sense as well. The powers of seduction work hand in hand with the mystical vibes she gives off, not too mention further associating her with the aspect of evil intentions, only another relation we can make between her and an Obanje.

Linz A said...

To me, if Beloved is meant to be a obanje, she is portrayed as an evil one. Well, perhaps not evil, but someone who brings bad fortune to her family. Ezinma, on the other hand, does not bring ill fortune, she is simply a sickly child who is loved by her parents. I almost feel as though the difference between the two obanje is the circumstances. Beloved is an obanje who has been corrupted by slavery and its consequences and therefore her existence carries with it the ill fortune and dread that comes with slavery. If that makes sense.

Linz A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madeline Davis said...

I really liked in both books the willing suspension of disbelief both cultures had when it came to supernatural forces. In Things Fall Apart, the Igbo people's belief system led to strong convictions regarding obanjes and the practice of exposing twins. In Beloved, the townspeople didn't question whether 124 was truly haunted by the ghost of Beloved, but stood by their cultural values and beliefs, automatically accepting the supernatural occurrences as truth.