Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Community, People, Religion, Village, Development, Europe, Literature, Colonization

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/02/08

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In the novel, Oberieka was a close friend of Okonkwo who always used his intellect and reason to try to advice him in many instances. In the statement, “He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart, Oberieka meant that the white man has destroyed the social, cultural, religious and political fabrics that had held the Umofia village together for many centuries. In other words, Oberieka was saying that the white man has succeeded in changing their traditional culture (Achebe 5). The theme of clash of cultures in the novel applies both at societal level and individual level. The villagers view missionaries as “foolish”, while the Christians view the local people as “heathens”. For example, Rev. Smith sees Africans as “heathens” who need to be converted to Christianity. To Christian missionaries, the culture of Igbo people was every extreme and horrifying that needed to be changed in some aspects. For example, the Europeans show banishing of some members of the community such as twins to be so inhuman and barbaric, and was always a source of conflict between the two groups. It reflects the stereotypes of the Europeans towards Africans where they show them as amoral, unsophisticated and authoritarian. The intention of Europeans is to convert local people to Christianity and help them to accept civilisation. However, the local people are not ready to accept change especially at the beginning since they are not ready to change their way of life. However, as the time goes by, the change is inevitable and white men succeed in changing the Igbo community.
Although the villagers were divided on whether to embrace change or not with some resisting it while others embracing, the truth is that the coming of the white man had posed a great threat to their traditions and cultural values. For example, the coming of Europeans in the village threatened traditional methods of farming, building, harvesting and cooking. Language was another thing that had been cut by the arrival colonialists in the village (Achebe 25). According to the author, it was through language and story telling that traditions were passed to the following generation. However, there was rapid abandonment of the local language (Igbo) as people were forced to learn English as the language of communication.
The coming of white men as missionaries had negative effects on the local religion that people in the village had held for many years. The missionaries came and requested village elders to give them a piece of land where they could build a church in the village. The village elders accept the request but give them a piece of land in the evil forest. Village elders thought believed that forest’s sinister forces and spirits would kill missioners within a matter of days for building a church in their dwelling place as per communities’ traditions. They gave them a grace period of 28 days before the ancestral spirits can start attacking them. To their amazement and that of other villagers, nothing happened to the missioners even after the graced period was over. As a result, many people in the village converted to Christianity threatening their traditional supernatural gods and goddesses. Those villagers who converted to Christianity embraced a new lifestyle that was completely different from their traditions. Therefore, the arrival of the missionaries came to threaten the existence of their traditional religion.
According to the Igbo traditions, women ought to be subservient in their community involvement and household. Men treated them like property and they accepted some forms of physical abuse as normal in their community. The community also treated some people as outcasts such as twins and other marginalised people (Achebe 50). However, with the coming of foreigners in their village, Igbo traditions and customs are unable to remain intact thus giving way to new lifestyles. The position of women in the society began as they become more empowered and through teaching of equality with men. Mr. Brown do all what he can to ensure that parents are sending their children to school (both boys and girls) to make them civilised and empowered. The community also began to accept marginalised people that had not been recognised for many years. The Igbo traditional leadership fails due to lack of sustaining central authority that would resist the European influence.
Lack of centralised leadership and unifying self- image make the Igbo society to fall apart and becomes victims of their colonisers whose intent is to exploit their resources. In the last chapter of the book, Igbo society is already disintegrated as they loses their self-determination, their religion is on the verge of collapsing and their strong leadership is shaken by the strong force of colonisation. For example, in the chapter 25, district commissioner forces Obierika and other village elders to show him where Okonkwo was hiding or else they risk going to jail. They obliged to the instructions only for them to find him hanging on the tree after suicide. Okonkwo realised that he could not fight the white man alone since the rest of the villagers had already accepted change. Obierika and other village elders represented the political authority of the Igbo community and their surrender to colonial power meant that their leadership structure was no more.
Some people like Okonkwo were not willing to embrace change in the Igbo community but the European wave of change was so strong for them. Their failure portrays the will of the majority who were willing to embrace change and take new opportunities that were offered to them by the coming of Europeans in their community. The author tries to show the struggle of a community to create a balance between political reality of colonisers and the traditions of the local community. The death of Okonkwo, the main character in the novel, shows the inability of the Igbo community to resist change that came with the colonisers. His sudden death is the last nail of the coffin of the traditions of the Igbo community (Achebe 55). All the efforts by different people to save the traditions and customs of the community have failed since change is inevitable. After the fall Igbo traditions, the colonial rule takes over the running of the community with a new political, economic, social and religious structures. There is introduction of education system, new farming and trading methods as well as a new religion in the Igbo community. The colonial rule has its own administrative structure that is completely different from the traditional Igbo political structure. These changes imply that everything has fall apart as per the title of the book.

Work Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

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Essay On Things Fall Apart. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-things-fall-apart/. Published Feb 08, 2021. Accessed June 22, 2021.
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