Modern World: Things Fall Apart

Topics: Things Fall Apart, White people, Chinua Achebe Pages: 5 (2183 words) Published: December 9, 2010
“ We cannot leave the matter in his hands because he doesn’t not understand our customs, just as we do not understand his. We say he is foolish because he does not know our ways, and perhaps he says we are foolish because we do not know his. Let him go away” (*1). This quote shows the major theme of the book which is change vs tradition. The quote shows the theme perfectly; basically it shows the ignorance of most of the Umuofia clan and their fear of the white peoples culture taking over theirs. They are dealing with the question of whether change should be privileged over tradition. The people of Umuofia want a little change but at the same time they have fear of completely losing their way of life, the people are divided on the subject at hand at what the right and wrong thing to do is, and how much is to much change. When the first white men was seen there was controversy already. The man was seen in Abame, the elders immediately went to see their oracle out of fear. The oracle told the elders that “ the strange man would break their clan and spread destruction among them” (*2). So the people killed the white men immediately out of fear. Then a few weeks later out of revenge three white men went to the Abame market and shot everyone except the people that weren't there. The Abame people were foolish they should have known “ Never kill a man who says nothing” ( * 3). But regardless of why the shooting happened at the Abame market the gossip had started and the fear had set in for the white men. After the Abame incident, other white people began to show. The white missionaries went to Umuofia and had begun building churches there and began getting converts. Not everyone was fond of the new religion though, but the leaders of the clan were not scarred because they believed that the weird faith would not last. Missionaries also arrived in the village of Mbanta. The missionaries begun telling the people of the villages about the new religion “ We have been sent by this great God to ask you to leave your wicked ways and false gods and turn to Him so that you may be saved when you die” (*4). The missionaries started to have the people of the villages question their religion and culture, and to make them think am I just worshiping false gods of wood and stone? Is all the rituals and killing and destroying innocent children actually right? Many questions began to stir. One person in particular who was captivated by the new religion was Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son. Nwoye became one of the first converts, but because of this change with his life that meant that he was no longer part of Okonkwo’s life or ever be considered his son. Even though this hurt Nwoye, he felt a relief in his life, so he thought that he could find other people within his new religion that would love him more then his father ever had. As the missionaries kept on spreading the word of their new religion and changing peoples life’s, they decided to ask for some land to build their church. So the clan decided to give them as much land somewhere as they wanted. The missionaries were very happy that they were getting the land, but what they didn’t know was the land they were getting was called the “evil forest” because it was alive with sinister forces and was evil. The “ evil forest” was where the clan had buried everyone that died from evil diseases. There was a so called curse that was set on the forest, so the people of Mbanta expected the missionaries to all be dead within four days. Not knowing of the curse the missionaries begun immediately clearing out the forest and building their church, and as each day went by and no one was dying the people of Mbanta were questioned about why the curse wasn't working on the white men. The church in Mbanta kept getting stronger and stronger as each day passed and was getting more converts. Okonkwo remained angered at the new changes in Mbanto, “ until the abominable gang was chased out of the village with whips there would...
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