Religion as a Tool of Conquest in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essays

Religion as a Tool of Conquest in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essays

Length: 788 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Religion as a Tool of Conquest in Things Fall Apart     

In the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the white men who come to Umuofia find success in conquering the village by challenging Ibo religion. Because the first white men to appear in Umuofia were missionaries, the slaughter of Ibo society began with the challenging of the highly-regarded religion of the Ibo people. The white men began their religious assault by openly denouncing the many gods worshipped by the Ibo in order to convert them to the new faith. After accomplishing this, the white men set out to prove that the Christian religion was superior to all others by defying the powers of the Ibo gods when they built their church upon the cursed ground of the Evil Forest. With the Ibo religion being proved powerless, the converts began challenging their former religion by killing the sacred python, revered by the people of Umuofia. By attacking the fundamental teachings of the natives’ religion, the Christians were able to effectively conquer the Ibo people.

The Christians first step in taking over the people of Umuofia was to preach that the Ibo gods were false. As the white man spoke against the Ibo gods, saying that worshipping gods of “wood and stone” (Achebe, 125) was fruitless, the natives were confused. They did not understand how this could be so, and they were both amused and shocked that anyone would suggest an idea that they perceived to be so ridiculous. The Ibo questioned the white man, wondering “who will protect us from… our neglected gods and ancestors” and were curious about his teachings. In doing so, it becomes apparent that the white man had succeeded in planting doubt in their minds about their religion. The Ibo were then unsure as ...

... middle of paper ... had been tested several times, and had failed on all occasions. The Ibo people, at this point, had given up, and the Christians were victorious over the village and its clan.

By forcing the Umuofians to question their religion, the Christians were able to successfully take over the village. They first challenged the Ibo religion by telling the villagers that their gods were not real. After this, the Christians built their church in the Evil Forest and defied the Umuofian gods who did nothing to stop the church, letting down the Ibo people. At the point of the killing of the python by a clansman, the Umuofian religion had been defeated in the eyes of its believers, and no longer held any real weight. The Christians were therefore able to effectively conquer the Ibo by attacking their religion, which had been uncontested up until that point in history.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Things Fall Apart: Questions and Answers Essay

- 3. Whites often referred to Africa as the “Dark Continent,” a place of evil. Considering Igbo traditional beliefs and the colonial encounter between Britain and the Igbo, where is evil located in this book. In the Things Fall Apart, Achebe (1969) portrays Nigeria at a time when the arrival of the British was intrusive as they crept within Nigeria’s borders and made an overwhelming influence while they claimed that Nigerians were ultimately evil and needed to be controlled. In essence, it appears that one of Achebe’s (1969) goals is to convey to readers what the British’s alternative motives were when British colonialism occurred....   [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]

Better Essays
532 words (1.5 pages)

Essay about Cultural Collisions in Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart

- Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart both take place in the imperialist era. Authors Joseph Conrad and Chinua Achebe, respectively, created main characters that came from different continents, but experienced similar cultural clashes. Although Marlow and Okonkwo have different lifestyles, they are both led to question their identities and make life-defining decisions. The most prominent difference between Marlow and Okonkwo is their cultural backgrounds. Marlow has no family, only his shipmates to accompany him....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Things Fall Apart]

Better Essays
906 words (2.6 pages)

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Essay

- The belief in African inferiority has existed since at least the 16th century. The 17th and 18th centuries saw European scientists going to great lengths to find scientific proof of the inferiority of Africans, even the theory that Africans were the descendants of apes who raped white women was accepted during the 17th century. Europeans used their belief that Africans were primitive, cultureless subhuman beings to justify the enslavement of what UNESCO estimates to be between 25 and 30 million Africans between the late 17th and early 19th centuries....   [tags: belief in African inferiority, story analysis]

Better Essays
2151 words (6.1 pages)

Essay on The Two Faces of Reality in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

- The dark and mysterious black hole that is the unknown may often lead to false assumptions concerning what is foreign or distant from personal realities, creating the risk of spawning offensive racial stereotypes that marginalize the truth and result in widespread belief in falsehood. Chinua Achebe looks to combat this phenomenon through his writing in Things Fall Apart, as he narrates the story of Okonkwo and his village. The novel challenges stereotypical characteristics attributed to Africa and its people by offering an insider’s perspective on the complexity of Ibo society and colonialism....   [tags: stereotypical, culture, colonialism]

Better Essays
845 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about Things Fall Apart

- Throughout the course of the novel, we read about a myriad amount of troublesome practices. Many of these cultural practices were considered harmful and unacceptable by outside societies such as the Europeans. Societies that were involved in such practices were deemed as “barbarians” and “savages” by the ethnocentric Europeans. In this paper, I will argue that Europeans were not justified in condemning the Igbo people because the Europeans took it upon themselves to impose their own belief system on them....   [tags: belief system, Europeans, Chinua Achebe]

Better Essays
1166 words (3.3 pages)

The Heart of Darkness, Things Fall Apart, The Apocalypse Essays

- The concept of colonialism and imperialism both play an essential role in “The Heart of Darkness”, “Things Fall Apart”, and “The Apocalypse”. The act of colonialism comes from a strategy of obtaining partial to full political control while attempting to govern another country. Groups settle in these different countries with a scheme to develop it economically. Another significant topic being presented is the performance of imperialism. Imperialism is imposed when military action is presented to enforce domination over another country....   [tags: colonialism & imperialism concepts in literature]

Better Essays
1147 words (3.3 pages)

things fall apart Essay

- Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a story that describes the effects of a new Christian religion in a tribal village of Africa, called Umuofia. The novel is set during the late 1800s to early 1900s when the British were expanding their influence in Africa, economically, culturally, religiously, and politically. The book shows the colonization of Umuofia by the British and the negative and violent changes this brought about in the lives of the tribe members. Along with colonization was the arrival of the missionaries whose main aim was to spread the message of Christianity and to convert people to their religion....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Free Essays
467 words (1.3 pages)

Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe Essay examples

- Things Could Have Been Different When in war the expression is to fight fire with fire. While in Things Fall Apart, the Christians came peacefully at first, then eventually started making their suggestions less of a choice. The tribe feels hopelessness while facing the fact that they’re losing the way of their people and the traditions the tribe stood for. Who can blame Otokumbo for acting the way he did. The Christians didn’t give Otokumbo a reason for him to try their way. Therefore, the Christians and the Tribes could can change their ways of getting people to see their culture....   [tags: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe]

Better Essays
1165 words (3.3 pages)

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Essay

- Throughout History there has been a desire for main stream white culture to explore and expand to new areas with many different objetives in mind. Many were looking for new lands that had untold riches while others were spreading cultural or religious beliefs in an attemped to gain support for their beliefs. Some times this was a welcomed addiction to foreign societies bring them new technologies and ideas to improve there life. But it was just as likely that these new additions to their culture and society would have a negative effect causing many peoples lives to be changed for ever....   [tags: Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart]

Free Essays
1373 words (3.9 pages)

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay examples

- Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart The last chapter of Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" concludes with the sentence: "He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger." This refers to the District Commissioner's chosen title for a book he has written that would have the African people, the Igbo tribe specifically, as the main subject. From the title itself, one can say that the writer has an unfavorable bias against his subject....   [tags: Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart]

Better Essays
1060 words (3 pages)