African Imperialism In Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

802 Words2 Pages

Imagine a group of foreign people invading your home, disavowing all your beliefs, and attempting to convert you to a religion you have never heard of. This was the reality for thousands and thousands of African people when many Europeans commenced the Scramble for Africa during the period of New Imperialism. A great fiction novel written by Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, highlights the responses to missionaries by African people. The African natives responded to the presence of white missionaries with submission to their desires, strategic responses to counteract them, and with the most disruptive response of violence.
One way the African natives responded to the presence of white missionaries was with submission to their desires; to convert …show more content…

Many took up strategic responses to the presence of white missionaries without resorting to violence. One strategy from Things Fall Apart was to burn down the church the missionaries had built in their village. While attempting to burn down the church, the locals had a conversation with a white missionary trying to stop them. “You can stay with us if you like our ways. You can worship your own god. It is good that a man should worship the gods and the spirits of his fathers. Go back to your house so that you may not be hurt. Our anger is great but we have held it down so that we can talk to you”.2 These men did not want to fight with the missionaries. They objected to their attempt to convert the natives to Christianity, but did not want violence. The church was the center of the missionaries’ life in Africa and burning it down would result in a setback for their movement to evangelize and convert the locals to Christianity. It was a strategic response to counteract the missionaries’ attempts at …show more content…

In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo was one of the strongest proponents of violence against the white missionaries. Throughout the book, he advocated for violence while be outnumbered by his fellow natives who objected. Near the end of the book, he had had enough. During a village meeting gathered to discuss what to do about the white missionaries, a messenger for the missionaries arrived to tell them the meeting had been ordered to be stopped. “In a flash Okonkwo drew his machete. The messenger crouched to avoid the blow. It was useless. Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body”.3 The man had been killed. Shortly after, Okonkwo hanged himself on a tree. Violence was by far the most disruptive response to to the presence of white missionaries in Africa. It was the only response that led to deaths. Not only was the violence disruptive, it was also ineffective. In the last paragraph of the book, the Commissioner of the missionaries articulated how Okonkwo’s actions would make a good paragraph in the book he planned to write. Violence against missionaries was disruptive and led to death for both the locals and the

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