Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart Essay

Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart Essay

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In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe suggests that if a culture refuses to change, it is doomed to be consumed, as supported by both the novel and The Aztec Civilization, and contradicted by modern day Nigeria.

In Achebe 's text, the Ibo people are overrun by the missionaries. Traditionally, Ibo culture is very one sided, as demonstrated by the villagers of Umuofia. Physical strength and power is valued above all else, and it is not uncommon for men to beat or abuse their wives and children. Okonkwo, a highly regarded Umuofian man, is especially guilty. Driven by traditional honor codes, Okonkwo feels he needs to make up for his “lazy, improvident, and drunk” father’s legacy, and goes so far as to almost kill one of his wives in front of the entire family over a banana tree to achieve his goal (4, 38-39). So as expected, when the missionaries show up in Nigeria preaching a religion of totally different values, Okonkwo and the rest of the Ibo society are taken back. The initial meetings between these two groups were rocky to say the least. Upon the people’s first contact with one another, the Ibo killed a messenger and the missionaries retaliated by massacring an entire market place (139). Unbeknownst to them, this would be a glimpse into their near, violent future. After the initial tension began to dissipate, the missionaries begin to preach in towns and villages their foreign theology of equalty for its members and salvation through the one God Almighty. These ideas contradict almost every aspect of traditional Ibo religion, and the elders and oracles were not pleased. The Ibo then proceeed to do everything they can to hinder the Christians, including using evil spirits and curses on the foreigners.. However, this strategy is c...


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...ional religion as we know it is very blurred. Widjaja says it himself that, “there is no acrimony between the adherents of the different religious beliefs” (Widjaja, p. 2). In fact, many Igbo people practice both. Classic Igbo theology is monotheistic, with one creator god named Chineke (Widjaja, p. 1). However, Chineke can be witnessed or contacted in many forms such as the spirit of rain or the spirit of the earth. The strikingly similar Christian concept of the Holy Trinity meshes perfectly with this characteristic of Chineke. Accepted by most of the Igbo popuation, the popular view on deities is currently that God is Chineke, and when you are with an elemental spirit, it is actually the Holy Sprit (Widjaja, p. 2). Another example of how Igbo and Christianity are complimentary is the feast of Chirstmas, as it “signifies home return in the village” (Widjaja, p. 4).

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