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"Things Fall Apart" By Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe Associates Some Blame On The Africans For Allowing Christianity To Take Hold In Tribal Africa

1876 words - 8 pages

Eurocentrism in ChristianityThings Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a compelling inside view of tribal life in Africa. This book tells a quite intriguing story. Through a clever narrative, we see a culture rich in tradition. Achebe seems to wish to rebut a common stereotype that Africa had no culture before the advent of colonialism. Although colonization definitely plays a serious role in the story, much of the book is devoted to culture. Achebe uses Igbo words to describe many things to give a deeper understanding of everyday Igbo life. It is through this enchanting style that Achebe brings out the issues he really wants to communicate. By using symbolism, Achebe informs the reader that a ...view middle of the document...

Arrangements of material is one rhetorical art that Achebe employs to the fullest in Things Fall Apart in order to argue its thesis successfully" (Okechukwu 14). Achebe begins his story long before the Europeans set foot onto Africa; he creates a proper historical background before he even mentions his theme.Achebe begins by introducing the reader to his protagonist, Okonkwo. Okonkwo is not introduced as either a perfect or a unique person in this culture; rather, we see all sides to Okonkwo's personality. Okonkwo is seen as a multi-faceted person whose culture is as much a part of him as he is a part of the culture. Life as understood by Okonkwo was the only way to live. Gender roles were very important in the Igbo lifestyle; Okonkwo killed an adopted son he had begun to love as his own. The Gods had decreed that the child must die, and Okonkwo did not hold back from fulfilling the edict himself out of fear of seeming feminine. Although this act caused Okonkwo great emotional turmoil, this was the way life was to be lived. Gods or society can decree certain norms and no questions are asked. Okonkwo lived an eventful, but average Igbo life.Everything changed with the arrival of the Christian Europeans. The Igbos lived by the earth and its seasons without the intrusion of modern ideas. Their society was entirely cyclical. People did not die, but they returned as different manifestations. The Igbo's practiced a cultural polytheistic religion. Their religion was steeped in tradition. Village leaders and representations of Gods defined justice. There were festivals for many occasions, many revolving around different cycles of change. They were a people at peace, content with their simple lives. They were not lacking anything the Europeans could offer them. It is in this drama of daily Igbo life that makes the arrival of the Christians so much more tragic.Benedict Njoku in a dissertation about Achebe's writing style clarifies why Achebe devotes a large portion of his novel to cultural background, if his thesis concentrates on the harms of colonialism. "Things Fall Apart expresses the author's nostalgia for the traditions and beliefs of Igbos before European colonialism. It points out that Africans in general had a high level of value system before the advent of Christianity" (P23). The arrival of the Europeans changed everything. The Europeans created enemies within the tribes by converting village members into Christians. The new converts openly rejected old traditions and the Igbo way of life. The Igbos did not know how to deal with this situation. Christianity, a monotheistic religion, had values that so opposed Igbo ideals: they almost seemed to mock the Igbo religion. The doctrines of justice as interpreted by the church were forcibly imposed upon the Igbos, even those that did not choose to convert. The missionaries introduced novel concepts of education and equality. The status so sought after by Okonkwo and other Igbos was devalued. The equal...

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