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"Colonialism And Ibo Society" In Reference To The Book "Things Fall Apart" By Chinua Achebe.

823 words - 3 pages

This essay answers the following question:“In what ways did the advance of colonialism undermine Ibo social structure? Why was Okonkwo poorly equipped to deal with these changes?”Colonialism and Ibo SocietyThe advancement of colonialism weakened Ibo society through unraveling the traditional Ibo culture and instilling new Western principles, such as Christianity, leaving Okonkwo and other village members at the mercy of the white colonialists. By instilling new religious beliefs in the village, the colonialists were able to begin separating the people from their traditional ways of life. After gaining an edge on Ibo society with religion, Colonialists brought their own rules and law systems and forced them onto villagers. Okonkwo was not prepared for the changes and oppression that the white man brought with him because his life was engulfed by the traditional aspects of Ibo culture.By introducing a foreign element into the traditional culture, in this case religion, colonialists were able to put a rift into Ibo society. Christianity was introduced by the white missionaries as a peaceful religion in order to gain the appeal of the Ibo people. It was this peaceful approach and the fact that the villagers thought the missionaries were crazy for preaching the falseness of Ibo Gods, that the missionaries were allowed to stay (Achebe, p. 146). During the early stages, those attracted to Christianity were mainly efulefu or osu, so most villagers continued to believe that “the strange faith and the white man’s god would not last” (Achebe, p. 143). Once the missionaries gained an edge into Ibo society and further spread the benevolent message of God, they began to pull the structure of the society apart by weakening the unity of the clan through gaining more and more converts to Christianity. Eventually, the number of converted villagers began to interfere with the traditional way of living. Even Okonkwo’s own son, Nwoye joined the missionaries. Missionaries successfully gaining converts caused villagers to abandon their traditional views as well as their strong beliefs in family connections. “He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart” (Achebe, p. 176). Through Christianity, the missionaries began to change the essential belief system in Ibo culture.Once...

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