Umuofia is a village in Africa, and the inhabitants there are usually united. However, when the Christians arrive and permeate the village, the clan changes but also falls apart. The novel in which this story takes place is called Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The story is about a well-respected man named Okonkwo who has three wives and many children, the oldest being Nwoye. Okonkwo is banished for seven years from Umuofia, and during those seven years, Umuofia is changed fundamentally by the Christian faith. Many people are converted, but the whole clan is in conflict. This novel demonstrates that Christianity destroys but also guides the Ibo culture in Umuofia.
Initially, the Christians help guide the Ibo culture by giving some of the people confidence to be
successful, but, by doing so, break up family units. When Nwoye is first brought into the church, he is confused about the Trinity, as many people in Umuofia are. Nwoye is easily converted due to the relationship with his father. Nwoye surely shows him respect, but is somewhat uneasy around him without Ikemefuna. With Christianity, Nwoye has gained more confidence as well as a better life and education than before. At one point, Okonkwo gets so angry at Nwoye that Okonkwo threatens to kill him. Nwoye shows confidence by walking away. Achebe depicts, “Nwoye turned round to walk into the inner compound when his father, suddenly overcome with fury, sprang to his feet and gripped him by the neck. ‘Where have you been?’ he stammered. Nwoye struggled to free himself from the choking grip. ‘Answer me,’ roared Okonkwo, ‘before I kill you!’ He seized a heavy stick that lay on the dwarf wall and hit him two or three savage blows. ‘Answer me!’ he roared again. Nwoye stood looking at him and did not say a word. The women were screaming outside, afraid to go in. ‘Leave that boy at once!’ said a voice in the outer compound. It was Okonkwo’s uncle, Uchendu. ‘Are you mad?’ Okonkwo did not answer. But he left hold of Nwoye, who walked away and never returned”(132). The scene ironically shows both guidance and destroying. Nwoye demonstrates confidence in his new Christian faith by not yelling back to his father and simply walking away to what he believes. Okonkwo, however, is driven insane by Christianity. Since Okonkwo does not believe the Christian faith, he does not want anyone else to join. When Nwoye does join, Okonkwo takes his anger out on him. Christianity both gives confidence to people and tears apart family units.
Secondly, the Christians unite the converts, but this unity does not prevent the new converts from demeaning others because of their religion or beliefs. When Mr. Kiaga, the missionaries’ interpreter, persuades the converts to accept the osu, or those who are cast out of the clan, Achebe writes, “‘Before God,’ he [Mr. Kiaga] said, ‘there is no slave or free. We are all children of God and we must receive these our brothers’”(136). The people are guided by Mr. Kiaga’s words as...