Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, is a story about a Nigerian Igbo tribe forced to endure, and live with European Christians. These Europeans were colonizing Africa with the intentions of setting up Christian missionaries. While their intentions were genuine, their presence was devastating to the Ibo culture. Achebe did not like how the Europeans and the Igbo people interacted with each other. The European missionaries viewed their religion as superior to the Igbo religion because there was never an effort made by them to understand the Ibo religion.
The missionaries’ goal was to come to Nigeria and take control of the Igbo society. In order for them to do this, they had to win the people over and for them to do that; they converted the Igbo people to Christianity. Achebe did not agree with the missionaries and in his story, he tried to get the reader to emphasize with the Igbo culture. In the story, he describes every reason and purpose for every action the Igbo people did. He talked about their festivals and their traditions. He even used words like obi and egwugwu as a way to connect the reader with the Igbo language.
Achebe hated what the missionaries did and how they tried to colonize his people. I think the story of a man who killed a messenger and hanged himself makes an interesting reading. The death of Okonkwo is symbolic and Achebe ends the story like this to show the reader how the Europeans viewed the Igbo people. Okonkwo killed himself because the Christian missionaries did not understand their religion and all they wanted to do was to break up their religious meetings and convert people to Christianity.
Achebe felt like if the Christian missionaries learned about the Igbo people, they might have understood everything that was done in the Igbo culture was done for the well being of the tribe. For example, when the Ibo tribe threw away twins and mutilated baby bodies, it was for religious purposes. The missionaries took this as being brutal and savage instead of what it really was. The Christian missionaries did not know that the Igbo people saw twins as evil and that was the reason they killed them.
Achebe did not like the damage the missionaries did to the Igbo people. The Christian missionaries were clueless to the danager they had caused the Igbo people. The Igbo people were divided up by the co-existing of two religions. No tribe members would have dared to kill another tribe member because they saw themselves as brothers. When they were divided up by religion, by the Europeans, they started to fight among each other. Achebe did not like the missionaries because they divided his people and they changed the whole Igbo society system. They only used religion to win over the minds of the people and to colonize their country. This is true because when I read the book, I noticed that the missionaries were controlling the court system. They did trials for the people of Umuofia for their crimes.
Courtney from Study Moose
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