Things Fall Apart Essay

883 words - 4 pages

Our society today is full of hundreds, possibly thousands, of different cultures. But keep in mind, this is the number of cultures our society only currently has. There have been many cultures in the past that have not survived from which our society could have possibly learned many lessons from. Most of them have been overwhelmed by more dominant cultures. Just imagine how advanced some of these now extinct cultures could have become.
The definition of a culture is basically the set of values, beliefs, religion, language, etc. that a specific group shares. Cultures may create a sense of belonging and safety amongst individuals. Many people grow up within a specific culture. That culture is all they have ever known. In these cases, transition from one culture to another may be quite difficult. For example, Okonkwo grew up within the Ibo civilization his whole life. He became well respected and developed a close bond with his culture. So when the missionaries arrived and people from the Ibo society started converting, it was not easy for Okonkwo to grow used to the idea that his culture was gradually disappearing. Okonkwo and his warrior friends were the members that benefitted most from the culture’s traditional cultural practices. On the other hand, people such as Nwoye could not quite understand the point of some of the practices. Although Okonkwo benefitted from the cultural practices by being able to prove his masculinity, he also ended up losing Ikemefuma and destroying his relationship with Nwoye because of the practices. The most unfortunate of people were probably people like Ikemefuma and the many infant twins that had been left in the Evil Forest. Even though these cultural practices were okay for the warriors, it was far from okay for the unfortunate.
The arrival of the European missionaries exposed many of the Ibo culture’s weaknesses. The missionaries had already built their church there, won a handful of converts and were already sending evangelists to the surrounding towns and villages (Achebe, 1994). The Ibo society was slowly falling apart and weakening. The missionaries were taking over. The clan’s people began turning against one another. There was a source of great sorrow that overcame the leaders of the clan (Achebe, 1994). At one point, Nwoye said that he is “one of them.” “Them” are the missionaries. Then when asked how his father is doing, he says that Okonkwo is not his father. Although Nwoye’s relationship with his father was already on the rocks, it was now completely gone. Loss of family ties is the result of the arrival of European...

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