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Your View, My View Essay

667 words - 3 pages

“The white man had indeed brought a lunatic religion…” (153) thought Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. In the novel, the main character Okonkwo and his son Nwoye experience sudden changes in their village from the arrival of white men. They once began their lives in their native Ibo village of Umoufia. After Okonkwo commits a murder by accident, he is forced to be exiled to Mbanta for seven years. During the years of his exile, Okonkwo hears about white men missionaries appearing in Umuofia, who later come to Mbanta. The missionaries have promoted Christianity in both villages and some of the villagers even converted from Ibo culture to Christian. Finally, after the seven years, Okonkwo and Nwoye return to the new Umuofia, where little Ibo culture remains. Okonkwo and Nwoye react to the changed village differently. They have dissimilar perceptions about the influence of the white men because they had distinct life experiences that shaped their own views on life.
As a child, Okonkwo was raised by a poor, unsuccessful father. Based on his childhood experience, Okonkwo had the desire to become the antithesis of his father: an opulent, superior man. When the white man arrives, Okonkwo reacts, threatening “If a man comes into my hut and defecates on the floor…I take a stick and break his head.” (139). He simply cannot accept the fact that he is no longer well-known in Umuofia. In contrast, his son Nwoye is a lazy boy who refuses to live up to his father’s expectations and is often mistreated by his father. For Nwoye, the white man’s influence gave him “…a relief within as the hymn poured into his parched soul.” (128). He saw the white man’s influence as a new opportunity to start life. The fact that Okonkwo and Nwoye’s early lives were raised differently led to unlike perceptions of the white man’s influence.
Another reason for the different perceptions that...

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