The Death of a Culture: an Analysis of the White Man's Influence over the Igbo Clan

Topics: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, Igbo people Pages: 3 (1293 words) Published: December 6, 2007
"We shall not do you any harm," said the District Commissioner to them later, "if only you agree to cooperate with us. We have brought a peaceful administration to you and your people so that you may be happy. If any man ill-treats you we shall come to your rescue. But we will not allow you to ill-treat others. We have a court of law where we judge cases and administer justice just as it is done in my own country under a great queen. I have brought you here because you joined together to molest others, to burn people's houses and their place of worship. That must not happen in the dominion of our queen, the most powerful ruler in the world." (p. 194)

The Death of a Culture:
An Analysis of the White Man's Influence over the Igbo Clan

The District Commissioner in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart tries to put forth the image of himself as a humanitarian, with the best interests of the Igbo at heart. However, his statement reveals that he is actually just an arrogant, hypocritical, power-hungry man. The District Commissioner, along with the other white missionaries, breaks up the community of the clan by damaging everything that held them together. By creating a world vision in which whites are superior, the District Commissioner enables himself and his fellow missionaries to destroy the culture of the Igbo people. Through this, Achebe highlights the flaws of British colonialism and questions the qualifications that make a society civilized. The District Commissioner's statement reflects the hypocrisy of his actions. He promises the Igbo people that if "any man ill-treats" them, the whites will come to their rescue. The words "any man" here include the white men. However, the white men are personally responsible for the suffering of the Igbo people and without their presence, the Igbo would not be in need of any "rescuing". Instead of bringing the "peaceful administration", as the District Commissioner claims, the white missionaries actually initiate many...
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