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“There's Many a Man Has More Hair Than Wit”: the Significance of Hair in Things Fall Apart

  • Date Submitted: 05/13/2011 06:42 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 71.6 
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“I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty, oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen, knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided, powdered, flowered, and confettied, bangled, tangled, spangled, and spahettied!” says the cast of Broadway musical, Hair (Rado & Ragni). How a person wears their hair can truly define them, it being one of the first things others may notice about them. In certain cultures, hair is regarded as sacred, and in some it is evil. In the book Things Fall Apart, author Chinua Achebe uses literary devices to create parallels between Bible stories and the Ibo culture’s feelings about hair and show the complex symbolism it has.
      Samson was a boy born into a Danite family in Old Testament Israel. His mother was not able to have children, yet one day, an angel from God appeared to her and told her she was going to have a child, and a pretty special one at that. She was told that she was to never shave the boy’s head because “the boy will be God's Nazirite from the moment of his birth” (Judges 13:4). Throughout the boy’s youth and young adulthood, he came to realize that he had unmatchable strength, yet he was told not to tell anyone the true source of his power: his hair. Though Samson was well known and loved among the Nazirites, he tended to have a very unruly temper and would use his strength in negative ways. So one day, when Samson was visiting the Valley of Sorek, he fell in love with a beautiful woman. Certain people in this valley weren’t too happy with Samson and so told this woman, Delilah, to “seduce him. Discover what's behind his great strength and how we can tie him up and humble him,” and she would receive payment (Judges 16:5). Delilah then began asking Samson, nagging him daily, wanting to know what his secret was, what kept him so strong. For days and days, Samson made things up and lied to her about his weakness. She tried each time to weaken him, only to find that...


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