Colonization in Things Fall Apart

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Ivanova, Mina
9th November, 2010

Colonization – a Life Change in Things Fall Apart and “The Runaways”. A Transformation of Culture, Customs, and Identity

Are colonization and forced assimilation the “destroyers” of cultures and communities? The poem “Indian Boarding School: The Runaways” by Louise Erdrich and the novel Things Fall Apart by Achebe are illustrators of the downfall of two different tribes because of colonization. The “intruders” impose their beliefs and life style; they settle in their land and change it. However, the people are those who decide whether to forget their true selves or to remain loyal to their traditional customs. The difference between the two pieces is the reaction of the native towards the new, foreign influence. Things Fall Apart shows the collapse of an African community because people have chosen to assimilate to an unknown culture. They lose their true identities. They are ready to turn against their own “brothers”. “The Runaways” illustrates how despite colonization another tribe has not forgotten its real, native character. They might act like they are obligated to but deep in their minds they have remained the same old people. They have not changed truly. They stick together in hard moments like that one. The tragic novel This Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe illustrates the colonization of an African tribe by foreign missionaries which leads to the collapse of the community because people are no longer united. They forget their true identities. Missionaries come to their land and try to attract the people to their religion – Christianity. The new religion “defeats” the old customs of the clan. The ones who realize what is going on see what is happening to the tribe. “Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart” (176). Okonkwo and others are concerned about those who accept the new beliefs....
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