Colonization Explored in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

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Written by Chinua Achebe, “Things Fall Apart” describes European imperialism through the eyes of the Nigerian tribesmen as they interact with European colonists. What makes this piece of literature valuable is not the fact that it criticizes imperialism; it is the way in which it criticizes imperialism. Achebe portrays the African tribes as having very rich civilized and social cultures, not as being animalistic savages, which other literatures would lead one to believe. Because of this, the reader is able to connect with the mindset of an African native. This enables the reader to view imperialism from the opposite side of the spectrum, as people whose culture is being destroyed by foreign invaders (Shmoop). Achebe uses the ill-fated Okonkwo as a vehicle for this enlightenment. Okonkwo is a well-respected member of the community because of the incredible efforts he puts himself through as a result of his dishonorable father. This is the first theme of Achebe’s story that enables a connection between European and African cultures. Children with poor relationships to their parents tend to act in ways for the sole reason of not being like them. This occurs in the present and I am sure it has occurred in the past as well. Who does not make vows to conduct themselves in a manner contrasting their parent’s bad habits when growing up? This theme immediately relates African and European cultures and is seen throughout the entirety of the story. Okonkwo’s oldest son, whom is disowns for being too feminine in nature, is one of the first of his tribe to convert to Christianity and embrace the Europeans. In contrast to this, Okonkwo’s oldest daughter, whom is cherished and spoiled, seeks to retain the tribe’s established w... ... middle of paper ... ...this, Achebe is able display the African culture for what it truly was about. As a result, the reader begins to understand more about the Igbo culture. With a greater understanding of what the culture is truly about; the reader is able to start drawing small connections between Igbo and European societies. The reader begins to care about the Igbo culture and just as this happens, the settlers appear and begin to slowly rip it all away. Because the reader is able to view the colonization process through eyes of the colonized, a greater understanding of process of colonization is able to be obtained. Work Cited Shmoop Editorial Team. "Things Fall Apart." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 25 Apr 2011. SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Things Fall Apart.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 25 Apr. 2011

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