Things Fall Apart
Opposites do not Attract
In Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, Mr. Brown, the first missionary in Umuofia, was a kind and respectful man. Not to say that Reverend James Smith was not, but his degree of kindness and respect were present in a whole different level. They both wanted to convert the lost, all those in Umuofia that were not in the church. Mr. Brown made friends with the clan and “trod softly on his faith,” (pg.178) while Mr. Smith told them how things were in a harsh voice and tried to force his religion on the people of Umuofia. The impacts the two had on the people and the church were exact opposites.
Mr. Brown was “very firm in restraining his flock from the clan” (pg. 178) and learned from talking to those within the group that “a frontal attack on the clan would not succeed” (pg.181). Because of this insight he gained great respect with many of the high officials. Once he was even “presented with a carved elephant tusk, which was a sign of great dignity and rank” (pg.179) by Akunna.
With this earned admiration he was able to open not only a town store, but a hospital and a school as well. He pleaded for the clan to send their children and all others who wanted to, to attend his school. At first everyone was reluctant to explore this new option for education. Those that chose to attend Mr. Brown’s school would not only learn how to read and write, but they would also learn how to fight back against those that would come in and try to conquer them. With this insight and the kind “gifts of singlets and towels” (pg.181) from Mr. Brown, more people flooded into his school. Mr. Brown’s school not only taught them how to speak and read in another tongue, but “from the very beginning religion and education went hand in hand” (pg.182).
Mr. Smith, on the other, hand was very harsh and “saw things as black and white. And black was evil…” (pg.184). That unfortunate turn of...