Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a story that describes the effects of a new Christian religion in a tribal village of Africa, called Umuofia. The novel is set during the late 1800s to early 1900s when the British were expanding their influence in Africa, economically, culturally, religiously, and politically. The book shows the colonization of Umuofia by the British and the negative and violent changes this brought about in the lives of the tribe members. Along with colonization was the arrival of the missionaries whose main aim was to spread the message of Christianity and to convert people to their religion. The conversion to Christianity of tribal peoples destroyed an intricate and traditional age-old way of life in the village. This is best seen in the rise and fall of the protagonist, Okonkwo, who could be understood to represent the best and worst of his culture. Eventually, Okonkwo can be seen as the symbol of the disintegration. Through the tragedy of Okonkow, one can see that that a failure to adapt to a changing society, can cause even the strongest and proudest of men to fall apart when it appears to them that everything around them is falling apart to. Things Fall Apart is a tireless tale of human’s nature’s ultimate struggle with evolution**
” The general vision of this this novel is how the cohesiveness and unity of African clans and tribes are made to ‘fall apart' with the coming of Colonialism*. "Africa was pictured as the dark continent, inhabited by childlike, superstitious, and fearful European writers believed that colonialismwas an agent of enlightenment to primitive peoples without a valid value system or civilization of their own. Achebe’s portray of Igbo society, shows that African societies were not mindless or barbaric, and that the colonial infiltration disturbed the unity and the balance of what was once a very dignified society. Ca said, “notes
In the late 1800, Western society developed an idea based on Darwinian racial struggle, that it was the responsibility of the more “civilized” whites to help the more primitive, non-whites. This sort of assistance also included the spread of Christianity- the “true” religion. So when the white missionaries went to Umuofia, in their own minds they were justified in their cause. the missionaries barely understand the tribe. They have very little knowledge of the cultural beliefs or rituals that the tribe revere. It seems inappropriate that they are willing to declare that the villagers' beliefs are false. "He told them that they worshipped false gods, gods of wood and stone." They don't even acknowledge that this too is a successful community, which works well under its method of religious law. They take it upon themselves to change the religion or `make it civilised', not respecting the fact that maybe the villagers were already content with what they had.
The tribe have lived for thousands of years in an untouched and unviolated existence. It is difficult for the tribe to adjust, as their ways are all they have ever known. The arrival of the missionaries and the conversion of many to the Christian faith make it very difficult for some to cope with. Especially those who choose not to convert, and have to watch as their friends/family take a different path. The colonials wished to replace “savagery” with “civilisation.” To them, the stateless society os the igbo was anarchistic. .....pg 131.
As the British colonized the areas of Nigeria inhabited by the Igbo, they brought with them their new religion of Christianity, which sought to overrun the traditional animist way of life that had endured in the area for centuries. The new religion was treated with skepticism early on, but the lure of the wealth that British traders brought into the city, along with the support of the British government and judicial system eventually displaced Igbo society completely. Although many historians make the assertion that the tribes’ conversion to...
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