Changing the Tradition: The Influence of Colonization on Umuofia

Decent Essays
Changing the Tradition: The Influence of Colonization on Umuofia In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe exercises the importance of traditions in an Ibo village of Nigeria. Africa is very well known for their long history, dating back to two million years ago, and their ancient ethnic customs have lived on since (“African History”). Unlike families from a rich white society, African families are usually required to live the traditions that have been survived through many generations, even if they are frowned upon in other parts of the world. However, the colonialists’ arrival in the late 19th century to Umuofia influences African characters of the novel to disobey these gender, religious, and cultural customs. Women were not really…show more content…
Enoch, the most extreme catechumen of Umuofia, takes on Reverend Smith’s dare to “unmask an egwugwu in public” during “the annual worship of the earth goddess” (186). This sinful action is the equivalent to “[killing] an ancestral spirit,” so when he accomplishes this rebellious action, member of the Ibo society felt as if a family member was killed (186). As seen here, the contradiction of the African man disobeying his ancestor’s beliefs creates tension between the indigenous and colonial governing systems; as a result of this absurdity, “Umuofia was thrown into confusion” (186). Although Mr. Brown cautioned Enoch to keep a good balance between his ancestor’s traditions and Christianity, Reverend Smith influences Enoch to be a fanatic of his new religion. Therefore, Enoch’s fondness of Christianity makes him lose control of himself and lose the understanding of where he belongs, and therefore, he listens to whatever the Reverend says. If it were not for the colonialist’s influence, the extreme tension between the Ibos and whites would not have existed. As many Umuofians are starting to shun the traditions, Okonkwo hopes that he can continue believing in Ibo culture’s ancient customs; however, the colonialists also influence him to act differently. Okonkwo has always been known to be “[impatient] with unsuccessful men” because his father was a humiliation (4). In Achebe’s writing, the readers can tell how Okonkwo wants to be everything his father was
Get Access