Things Fall Apart Essay

1401 words - 6 pages

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, presents the result of colonization of the Ibo people by the European missionaries. The Ibo culture is threatened to change by the European influence. Villagers are divided between resisting a new lifestyle or embracing it for better opportunities in society. The struggle to keep Ibo traditions alive is reflected in Okonkwo and Obierika’s relationship to one another. Okonkwo represents the resistance of change by keeping traditional values in high regard while, Obierika signifies the openness to opportunity by questioning the current Ibo values. The arrival of European missionaries persuades the exchange of traditional Ibo methods, customs, and community ...view middle of the document...

As with The Feast of New Yams to honour the goddess Ani, yam holds high importance. Yam also stands for manliness, as it ables one to feed the whole family, and shows how much hard work it takes in successfully growing it. For Okonkwo, his dedication in farming allowed him to surpass his father’s laziness in the past. Ibo culture also shows how significant community and family are. Families share stories for future generations to honour and gain understanding of their ancestors and also share food and music to bond groups together in a purposeful way. Okonkwo tells his son, Nwoye, and Ikemefuna stories of bloodshed and violence to teach them of manliness, as Ekwefi tells stories to show the animal’s importance. Unity of family is of value, as Okonkwo’s kinsmen quotes:
I fear for you young people because you do not understand how strong is the bond of kinship. You do not know what it is to speak with one voice. And what is the result? An abominable religion ahs settles among you. A man can now leave his father and his brothers. He can curse gods of his fathers and his ancestors, like a hunter’s dog that suddenly goes mad and turns on his master. I fear for you; I fear for you the clan. (167)
Another aspect in Ibo culture is the regard for a personal chi and belief in Oracles. The gods of Ibo represent aspects of life and are worshipped to honour the family’s ancestors. As with a chi, ones personal god guides one’s behaviour, as any action they make influences the whole community. “A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi.” Okonkwo worships the Oracles and “offered prayers to them on behalf of himself, his three wives and eight children” (14). Ibo traditions benefit villagers in gaining status and wealth and disadvantage villagers in which they cannot improve their situation.

The arrival of European influence in Umuofia has many implications on the Ibo culture. Villagers have the choice to join the unfamiliar lifestyle or risk keeping their traditions alive. Because of little understanding of the Europeans, the villagers see the new religion as worthless and effeminate, referring them to “albinos”. When the missionaries present their beliefs of Christianity, it captivates a few villagers. Nwoye is curious because it answers his question pertaining to the death of Ikemefuna and its mysterious poetry gains preference as opposed to the harsh traditions his father holds. As the European group gains power, the osu are recruited because they can free themselves from being outcasts and have the chance to belong to a group. Ultimately, when the missionaries build infrastructure among the Evil Forest, power shifts into their hands: “it became known that the white man’s fetish had unbelievable power” (149), recruiting many coverts. The recruitment implies a loss of unity within the community. Families split into those who adhere to Ibo customs and those who choose Christianity. Another implication of European influence is the destruction of the...

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