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Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart Essay

1737 words - 7 pages

During the mid 1800s and 1900s, the continent of Africa was being invaded by European superpower nations such as Great Britain, France, and others. The proper act was named as Colonialism which according to my lecture notes means: “a racially based system of political, economical, and cultural domination forced on an indigenous majority by a technological superior foreign minority” (Zeitler). For instance, many European nations enforced imperialism on the continent of Africa because of its recently discovered natural resources which would be beneficial for their countries, and Europeans used western education and religion as a moral “cover” for their easy access to the native African’s lands and enforce the natives to be more civilized like Europeans. Unlike the Europeans who believed they were bringing positive changes and good deeds to the locals from an Imperialistic point of view, the majority of natives were affected by the political, cultural, religious, and economic changes which are depicted in the Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart. The novel primarily focuses on small villages such as Umuofia village in southern Nigeria, and the native’s first and prolonged contacts with the British expansionism or missionaries.
In the novel, Achebe depicts the political changes that have occurred from pre-European arrival and post-European prolonged stay that have differentiated the Igbo politics. For example, Achebe states that “…the white man had not only brought a religion but also a government” which depicts that the missionaries enforced natives to adapt to British laws (2486). Also, the native could not violate those laws because they would be trialed at the court house for the severity of the laws punishment or penalty that could have result to be a death sentence such as “hanged”, but Igbo people have never murdered anyone for that type of punishment, so they were not pleased about it. Another example of political change was that the judicial system deal with any major or minor issue rather than before when it was settled by the clan leaders and village elders. For instance, if a native wants to address an issue about his marriage disputes such as divorce then he/she must hire a lawyer, so the lawyer can represent them in the court of law and they are being judge by the exact same laws that is being enforced back in Great Britain, not the law that would be similar to Igbo society. According to my lecture notes, even thought the Europeans brought their political and judicial system to Umuofia or Nigeria as a whole there was some downfall in their system such as the system was corrupted and the upper class or wealthy people had the upper hand on the society which they could bribe lawyers, judges, and other government officials (Zeitler).
Close to the end of a novel, one of the native converts such as Enoch will interrupt or ruin the ancient tradition by unmasking an egwugwu in public which considers one of the greatest crimes, but Mr. Smith...

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