Colonization in Things Fall Apart

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Global Studies

The villagers of Umuofia have been changed by colonialism throughout the novel Things Fall Apart by becoming more fearful of the change of traditions, gaining a desire for change, and gaining a feeling of having their traditions destroyed. Umuofia was a village that had strong ideas of masculinity, tradition, and very strict gender roles. The novel is set during the late 1800s to early 1900s when the British were expanding their influence in Africa; economically, culturally, religiously, and politically. Things Fall Apart shows the colonization of Umuofia by the British and the violent changes this brought about in the lives of the tribe members. The Igbo culture highly regarded tradition, culture, and their beliefs, so when they became aware of the white men and their alternative beliefs, they became fearful for what they did not yet know. Holding up one's standards of tradition was very important in Umuofia, and was heavily presented throughout the character Okonkwo, where he desired to have the traditional male dominance and power. He feared not being able to uphold this tradition, and feared how his tribe would view him if he did not follow these traditions. “But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo's fear was greater than these.” (Chapter 2, Pg. 12) The representation of fear within the character of Okonkwo signifies the fear that would be present throughout many male figures throughout Umuofia. These male figures are scared to break traditional and live in literal fear of going away from their ways of life, which was only more heavily exemplified when the white man came to Umuofia. The villagers believed that the white men were lesser, simply because they did not have their same traditions and ways of life. “None of his converts was a man...
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