Era of Imperialism On Native Africans

857 Words4 Pages
Fearing the possibility of following in his father’s lazy and cowardly footsteps, Okonkwo pushed himself to grow and prosper into a wealthy, hard working warrior, and farmer to provide for not only himself, but his family as well. He believed that the only way to stay prosperous, focused, and dedicated on all he has worked for was to avoid affection and emotions for those around him; he refused to look weak to others. Okonkwo commits murder and is forced to live in exile for seven years. During this time, many changes take place in his village of Umuofia: the white men come, missionaries spread new faith, and everything is becoming modernized, forcing the idea of tradition out of the picture of the future. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe infiltrates the roles of men and women, language, religious, and cultural changes into the Nigerian village, Umuofia, where Okonkwo resides. This novel is a vivid portrait of Western Imperialism and the clash between the European colonial government and the native Africans of Nigeria in the early 19th century. The roles of men and women were extremely precise during this time of life; women did not have control of much, nor did they have the ability to stand up for themselves the way women do today. They were ordered around and inferior to the men in their culture, especially their husbands. Women of the Ibo culture were very domesticated and stayed in the household realm to cater to their men and families. The tradition of marriage in the Ibo culture is not what today’s society is accustomed. The practice of polygamy was normative; men would often have more than one wife, but it was against culture for women to be married to more than one man. Roles among men and women were a double standard ... ... middle of paper ... ... his life. He did not want to fall to the change of the British government and missionaries. This was a “sin” in the beliefs of the Ibo tradition, and ended the novel in a dark state. I was shocked that he would have given up after all that he worked for, but after analyzing the sequence of events, it made sense. The unity of his village was crashing down right in front of him, they were ignorant about it, and he had absolutely no control over the situation. He was also very terrified of ending up following his father’s footsteps of failure that he decided to prevent that from happening. To avoid the feeling of disappointment, Okonkwo committed suicide because he knew he would have no control over the conversion of his village to the values, beliefs, and religion of the European expansion. Works Cited Achebe, C. (1994). Things fall apart. New York: Anchor Books.
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