Similarities Between Things Fall Apart And Sugar Alley

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The events of Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart and the film Sugar Cane Alley detail the lives of a fictionalized Nigerian village and sugar cane harvesters in remote Martinique, respectively, during similar time periods of the 1900s. Both works contain explicit references to Christianity, and how the imposition of religion and white culture have negatively affected the African characters. European religious practice was used as a means of pacifying as well as terrifying the Umuofian people and the inhabitants of Sugar Cane Valley. European hegemony was marked by a shift from traditional aspects of enslavement and settler colonialism to an “industrial” colonialism in the late 1800s. As factories and machinery rose in prevalence, it was quickly realized that a means of supporting their industry and workers could be found elsewhere than Europe. These lands were populated by people considered by their white oppressors to be “savages”,…show more content…
José, the protagonist, is a young man of African descent living in Black Shack Alley with his grandmother, M’Man Tine. The people who work harvesting sugar cane are the close descendants of only recently freed slaves – they live in conditions of poverty similar to that of slavery due to the wealthy, ruling white class. Catholic imagery is found throughout the film – notably, M’Man Tine keeps a portrait of Jesus Christ in her shack in Black Shack Alley, and later, above her bed. This portrait serves as a visual cue to the reach of French colonialism and an iteration of French power – the idols of white religion hang in the houses of black oppressed peoples. Perhaps Jesus, to M’Man Tine, represents the notion of life after death and a means of escaping the physical and psychological toil of harvesting cane, much in the same way the converts in Things Fell Apart looked for solace in

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