Essay Things Fall Apart

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Essay: Things Fall Apart
Vincent Ruelle
English Honors 2nde

Two completely different cultures and ways of life are brought together in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. The 1959 novel tells the story of Okonkwo, his village, and his people, The Ibo. The reader learns much about Ibo culture and traditions, but also about British imperialism and how it destroys a unique and irreplaceable way of life. Things Fall Apart recreates the conflict between European and Ibo cultures by focusing on the huge changes introduced by imperialism, colonialism using the vehicle of Christianity.

When two cultures confront each other, the stronger, more advanced culture usually imposes itself. There have been numerous examples of this throughout world history: the colonization of Africa and Asia by European empires during the 19th century. One country in particular, India, saw major parts of their unique culture and unique customs thrown away by the British. The British destroyed Indian holy places and gave young Indians a very British education. One can say that the British brought education to India, but they didn’t teach Indians about their own country, instead they taught them about Great Britain as if India’s history was insignificant. The British also constructed railways, telegraph wires, roads, canals and many other things to modernize India. But as a result of British rule, India’a poverty grew because it enriched Great Britain. This proves that when two radically different people confront each other, the more technologically advanced and more developed country ends up imposing itself.

In Things Fall Apart, religion is the main reason the Ibo and the European missionaries have such hate for each other. This is evident in Things Fall Apart when Enoch unmasks an egwugwu. Unmasking an egwugwu is equivalent to killing a spirit in the Ibo religion. Because of this, the clansmen burn Enoch’s compound and go burn the church to cleanse the village of Enoch’s horrible...
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