Dr. Yixin Chen
5 February 2013
Impact of Western Imperialism on the African Community
Western imperialism, though it has its good qualities, essentially led to the breakdown and ending of the African community. Their religion, new language, and political knowledge and power make it impossible for both communities to exist together.
The most apparent form of cultural imperialism from the West in Things Fall Apart are the differences in the law making systems of the village and the western missionaries. In chapter four, Okonkwo beats his wife during the week of peace for leaving the hut to get her hair braided without cooking dinner first. The priest of the clan commands him to bring a she-goat, a hen, a length of cloth and a hundred cowries to the shrine for breaking the week of peace. What Okonkwo did was so bad in the eyes of the priest because they believe that the week of peace will bring them good fortune from the earth goddess. In chapter twenty, Okonkwo gets his first glimpse of the clan after his seven years of exile. We learn of the new Judicial system that exists in Umuofia. There is a District Commissioner who judges cases in ignorance that his messengers bring to him. The Umuofian people hate this system and in turn coin offensive names for the messengers. Though an established law making system is needed in any society, the influence of the West on Umuofia was not a good one. The religiously based judicial system that existed before the missionaries arrived was completely adequate for the community. The citizens lived under it and accepted it without fighting over it. When the Christians came the people of the village end up hating the system and all it stands for because the way they judge cases is not fair. The missionaries do not understand the village to a point in which they can effectively judge its inhabitants for crimes they committed.
The presence of a new religion in the community has both positive and...