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Things Fall Apart: Eurocentrism Essay

1361 words - 5 pages

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known. Chinua Achebe takes this idea into account when he wrote Things Fall Apart. He shows in this novel that unless you know about African culture, you can’t love it or hate it. He shows that Africans aren’t savages like the world thinks they are, and that the Eurocentric world that we live in isn’t correct.
Eurocentricism is the idea that the world revolves around Europe and western civilization. This idea has been the focus point of Achebe and has driven him to prove the universe does not revolve around European culture and it is equal to all other cultures. The idea of Eurocentricism pushed the nations toward imperialism by saying that it was the ruling continents job to go out and make others like them. This idea was shown in “The White Man’s Burden”.
Achebe negates the idea of Eurocentricism. He shows that Europe isn’t the center of the world. He also shows that Africa isn’t the red headed stepchild of the world either. While Africa may have some faults, it is far from being uncivilized and the home of savages. The Africans had their own government and religion. Achebe brings up the point that if Europe hadn’t tried to divide up Africa, they would have been better off. He shows this point when Okonkwo killed himself. He is symbolically saying that if the Europeans hadn’t come into Umuofia, Okonkwo wouldn’t have killed himself and wouldn’t have lost hope in his tribe.
Achebe writes Things Fall Apart to revise the history that has been misplaced. He writes to the European and Western culture. This fact is evident because the book is written in English and it shows us the side of the African culture we wouldn’t normally see. Achebe is constantly reminding us throughout the novel that the Africans had their own governments, religion, social class, and traditions. Things Fall Apart uses African folk tales and legends to show us this idea.

Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “The White Man’s Burden”, said that it was the white man’s job to protect the earth under God. It was their burden to educate all peoples the same way they educate themselves. It was the European man’s duty to spread Christianity, peace, and prosperity to all nations. This was a cover up for what was really happening. There were some men that actually wanted this cause and were sincere in the mission, but the majority wanted fame and fortune. “The White Man’s Burden” was telling the citizens of Europe that they needed to find the smartest, strongest and matchless men they could find and send them into the unknown to spread the superior culture of the Europeans. These unknown regions of the world were supposedly populated of half devil-half man. These white men were to take out all disease and poverty in the nations of Africa and to receive the good judgment of God and their peers.
Another one of Kipling’s poems, “Gunga Din”, talked of a soldier that was stationed in India. The regiment’s water-bearer was...

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