Chinua and of those who do not.

Chinua Achebe wrote the narrative, Things Fall Apart, which
is a great part of African writing that deals with the Igbo culture, past, and
the taking over of African lands by British migration. Things Fall Apart emphasizes
the various important historic occasions that occurred throughout the colonialism
period, and spread of religious enthusiasm to Africa from Europe, and the significance
of the native religion amongst African civilizations. Religion holds a major impact
in many African societies and encourages the day-to-day life of the natives. Moreover,
the narrative presents a major occasion that transpires during pre-colonial
Africa, the spread of the Christian faith, which forever altered and affected
the natives, more precisely the Igbo civilization located in Nigeria. The
Christian faith that appeared in Africa reformed both the individuals in the
Umoufia and civilization. The spread of Christianity eventually leads to the annihilation
of the many native African cultures, and demonstrates the redeeming advantages
that ascend from the ruin of their civilization. Achebe describes how the
Christian faith acts as a guide to the Igbo society and at the same time acts
as the inescapable demise of the Igbo society. According to the article
Missions in Achebe and Dangarembga “The Euopean culture, assumed that the
mystical union of British civilization and Christianity would conquer the world”.     

A major aspect of one’s culture is religion. Deprived of it,
the way individuals hold themselves accountable would be nonexistent. Furthermore,
many decent principles that occur today are values taken directly from faiths
such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Presently, a feud exist amongst
people who trust in a God, and of those who do not. Ultimately those who trust
in a higher authority will fight against each other. This is perceived in the
lives of the Ibo, missionaries, and Okonkwo himself.  Due to the a fresh
colonized “white man religion”, the Ibo and the missionaries eventually go from
existing together peacefully, to being on the edge of confrontation with one
another. In “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe brings to light to Christianity
and Colonization leading to the destruction of the Igbo society in order to
demonstrate the effects of religion upon one’s society, which is exemplified by
Okonkwo and his people. Harold Bloom believed that “The missionaries wanted the
Nigerians to learn all they can about Western tradition, particularly Christianity.
The goal is to convince the Africans to understand the ways of Jesus Christ,
and ultimately to convert the African’s to Christianity.” This proves that each
aspect of their lives and culture was consumed by English belief systems; in
other words the white’s belief and systematic way of life took over traditional
systems and beliefs.  An example of this
can be found in the article The Role of
Missions In Things Fall Apart and Nervous Conditions Alison Searle stated “British
civilization was equated dogmatically with Christianity, and he was willing to
draw upon the power of the secular imperial authorities in order to destroy the
traditional structures of Igbo society.”

The outcomes
of colonization were exceptionally evident in the Igbo civilization. As the
white Englishmen progressed into the native’s property, their cultural morals transformed.
Illustrations of these transformations were apparent in all characteristics of
the Igbo populations’ lives, in their faith, family life, offspring, and their departed.
An abundant of the Igboians were distraught by the imperialism of their civilization,
however in the end they were totally incapable of doing anything to reverse the
modifications that had previously taken place in their group. While the English
began to colonize the Igbo culture, there were very little natives who opposed
it, the others just assumed that the English would come and go, nonetheless
they were mistaken; shortly after, the English started to present the
“white man’s faith.” “The white man is very clever. He comes quietly
and peaceable with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed
him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like
one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen
apart.” (Chp 20. Par 26) This different religion was downright the contrary
from anything the natives were used to to. An example of this can be seen when Mr.
Brown, demonstrated a difference in that the God of Christians is to be declared
as a affectionate god who is to be feared only when His will is not done. “What
is the point of living for a god that must be feared?” Christians are to spread
the word of God, serve their fellow men, and repent, and in doing this they
need not fear God. The Ibo, are to devote themselves to their chi or subjective
god, make sacrifices to their gods, and hope that their gods are not furious
with them.

Despite
the many differences present Christianity was relatively captivating to countless
natives then many of them turned away from their relatives and all they were to
become a supporter of this new religion. At one time, the natives had coexisted
very superstitious, however as the new religion engulfed throughout the
societies, their superstitions began to diminish along with their faith in the countless
Gods they had formerly believed in. Correspondingly, as many of the natives took
part in the new Christian faith, it lead to many intimate unions being destroyed. One example can be seen in Mr. Smith’s actions
towards church members and the members of the clan “Our Lord used the whip
only once in His life –to drive the crowd away from His church. Within a few
weeks of his arrival in Umuofia Mr. Smith suspended a young woman from the
church for pouring new wine into old bottles.” (pg 184 – 185) In doing this, Mr. Smith showed the Ibo people that
Christianity is a religion that is exclusive, and is only for an elite few.
Up to now, family was an important thing in the Igbo society. It was not often
that a male of the Igbo tribe would offer his son for any reason, nonetheless since
the coming of the English and training the Igbo’s to follow a new-fangled religion,
many families were forced to give up their sons, daughters, and even some men
were forced to give up their wives.  An
example of this can be seen in the novel Exploration
and Colonization by Harold Bloom ” After attracting a new initiate to
Christianity, the Christians refuse to allow the converts to spend time with
their unconverted family members for fear of losing that person. These converts
are important to the missionaries because the new Christians now belong to God
and to the colonists; as the missionary Mr. Kiaga says to Nwyoe when the latter
leaves Okonkwo’s obi for  good; Blessed
is he who forsakes his father and mother for my sake… Those that hear my words
are my new father and my new mother.” (pg 132). The new religion also affected
the way certain customs took place in the Igbo society. An example would be
when Nwoye was greatly confused about his religion and his society. He was not
greatly connected with his tribal religion due to the conflicting ideas between
his tribal religion and his view. However, with the arrival of the Christian
faith brought by the missionaries Nwoye felt deeply connected with the foreign
religion and seeks its guidance “The missionaries’ hymn about brothers living
in “darkness and fear, ignorant of the love of God This missionaries’ message
seems to speak of another way to live that Nwoye never knew about – a way of
life in which fathers don’t kill their adoptive sons and twins are not
abandoned to die in the Evil Forest.” Another example can be seen when one of
the newly converted Christians, Okoli killed the highly honored snake. “a year
later by killing the sacred python, the emanation of the god of water. The
royal python was the most revered animal in Mbanta and all the surrounding
clans. It was addressed as “Our Father,” and was allowed to go wherever it
chose, even into people’s beds. It ate rats in the house and sometimes
swallowed hens’ eggs. If a clansman killed a royal python accidentally, he made
sacrifices of atonement and performed an expensive burial ceremony such as was
done for a great man. No punishment was prescribed for a man who killed the
python knowingly. Nobody thought that such a thing could ever happen.” (chp 18.par
.16-17)

 

Works Cited

Achebe,
Chinua, and Peter Francis* James. Things fall apart, Chinua Achebe. Recorded
Books, 1997.

Searle,
Alison. “The Role of Missions in Things Fall Apart and Nervous
Condition.” Literature & Theology: An International Journal of
Religion, Theory, and Culture, vol. 21, no. 1, Mar. 2007, pp. 49-65. EBSCOhost,
search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mzh&AN=2007651425&site=ehost-live.

 

VanZanten, Susan. “‘The
Headstrong Historian’: Writing with Things Fall Apart.” Research in
African Literatures, vol. 46, no. 2, 2015, pp. 85-103. EBSCOhost,
search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mzh&AN=2015392835&site=ehost-live.

 

Bloom, Harold, and Blake Hobby.
“Exploration and Colonization”. Chelsea House Publications , Aug
.2010,pp194-198