Okonkwo's Challenged Identity

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There is a huge struggle between tradition and change. In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe we see this struggle happen with the main character, Okonkwo. He is a man who has gained respect with his people by hard work throughout his life without having a role model father who eventually died while in debt. Okonkwo’s identity is challenged by the cultural collision because it endangered his role within his people, changed his people’s ways and views toward him, and caused his family to break apart. The Ibo tradition was challenged to the western ways, and it failed due to the force set out by the British and how they were able to convert much of the villages. For Okonkwo, he couldn’t handle all this change, which brought him to his despise and his death.

Okonkwo, along with higher class men view the church as a threat because it can overpower their positions and make their title meaningless. On the beginning of chapter 17 is states that “It was not very easy getting the men of high title and the elders after the excitement of the first day.” Of course it wasn’t. How do the white men expect these men to easily give up their positions that they have worked for their whole lives? The higher class men understand that converting to Christianity means giving up being the high roller of the village and having to be ruled by someone else who doesn't even understand the culture they have now. “These outcasts, or osu, seeing that the new religion welcomed twins and such abominations, thought that it was possible that they would also be received.” Everyone was welcomed in the new religion, even the outcasts of the village. The church was growing with converts, mainly from the efulefu (titleless, worthless men). Okonkwo, among with other high class men, know that without men of lower status around their titles and positions as religious leaders lose force and prestige. They are thinking more for themselves than for what's best for the village. However, they have the right...
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