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The Imposition Of Colonialism On Africa

1542 words - 7 pages

African Colonialism
The imposition of colonialism on Africa drastically reconstructed the continent. All over, European powers attempted to “assimilate” countries into their own, all the while exploiting and victimizing their people, culture, and resources. However, if there was one aspect of colonialism that provided a fertile ground for conflict, it was the unknowingly insidious method of introducing religion, specifically Christianity, into African families. This is particularly exemplified in the novels Things Fall Apart, Houseboy, and Weep Not, Child. Throughout these novels, the assimilation of Christianity within the protagonists’ not only results in a destruction of their sacred and traditional values, but also their well-being and those around them.
In Things Fall Apart, Achebe is able to express this embarkation with his division of the novel into two parts. The first part introduces Okonkwo along with his family’s beliefs and their origins, religions, etc. However, in the second part with the arrival of the Christian missionaries, the seeds of colonialism take root within the Ibo tribe and Okonkwo’s family, particularly in his son Nwoye. At the beginning, the missionaries are calm and peaceful. However, as time goes on they start to undergo their mission and start to denounce the Ibo’s gods as “false gods, gods of wood and stone.” At first, many are appalled and find their preaching laughable, but as they continue to thrive, people such as Nwoye begin to reach out. Because Nwoye is unable to forgive Okonkwo for his betrayal in killing his adopted brother, he converts to Christianity in an attempt to get back at his father for his crime. In addition, the missionaries’ hymn about brothers living in “darkness and fear, ignorant of the love of God” touches Nwoye deeply. To him, these missionaries’ message speaks of a better way of life- one in which fathers don’t kill their adoptive sons and twins are not abandoned to die in the Evil Forest. While at the moment it seems that Nwoye “saves” himself by converting to their religion, it is indeed in fact the opposite. By imposing upon the already established gods and disrupting the natural order of his ancestors, the missionaries unknowingly lure a central part of Okonkwo’s family into their grasp. This, in turn, creates an emotional rift between the two men and is exemplified in a brief exchange when Nwoye tells Obiereika: “He (Okonkwo) is not my father.” Each is ashamed to be connected to the other now, Nwoye because he has never forgiven his father for killing Ikemefuna, and Okonkwo because of Nwoye’s new religion. Despite, their shared blood, there is no affection or respect in their relationships, and thus they no longer consider each other to be family. This is extremely detrimental seeing that Nwoye is one of Okonkwo’s heirs and children within his clan are the inheritors of the future and are raised to continue the values of the older generation. By allowing his son to disembark,...

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