Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart

1310 Words Nov 2nd, 2016 6 Pages
The Dangers of Indifference: Reactions to Missionaries in Things Fall Apart In Things Fall Apart, post-colonial author Chinua Achebe is effectively telling two distinct but related stories. The first establishes the traditions and customs of the Ibo people, particularly those living in the powerful village of Umuofia, while the second documents the culture clash between the old ways of the Ibo clan and the newly arrived white man, all of which is connected by the common thread of the fall of the tragic hero, disgraced warrior Okonkwo. Unsurprisingly, the demarcation between these two halves falls right at the point of the arrival of Christian missionaries in the region. Achebe’s episodic chapter style details a plethora of different reactions to this by the Ibo people, which can be broken up into three groups; acts of violence and rebellion, conversion and the embrace of Christianity, and relative inaction and indifference. All three reactions played roles in the downfall of the Ibo clan, but the most damaging in Achebe’s view is the actions of those who decided to ignore the new dynamic of the white man’s presence, and through their arrogance lead the African people as a whole to cultural eradication. While far less common than conversion and indifference, the use of violence in reaction to the arrival of missionaries and the white man in general tends to play a pivotal role when it does pop up. For example, the first time Okonkwo hears of the appearance of white…

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