Corruption as a Consequence of Colonialism - as portrayed in Achebe’s The African Trilogy

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Corruption as a Consequence of Colonialism - as portrayed in Achebe’s The African Trilogy

All quotations are taken from the 1988 Picador edition of Chinua Achebe’s The African Trilogy "

He has put a knife on all the things that held us together and we have fallen apart" (Things Fall Apart, 145)
The things that held the Igbo tribe together were their close bonds of clan kinship, unified allegiance to their gods, and their democratic society. These were the very things that the English set out to attack, to ‘put a knife on’. Once they began this process, Igbo society was never to be the same again. Chinua Achebe’s The African Trilogy, while an excellent piece of literature in its own right, can also be read as an excellent historical
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This confusion at the refusal of the Igbos to accept positions such as this is well-illustrated in Arrow of God:

"‘Well, are you accepting the offer or not?" Clarke glowed with the I-know-this- will-knock-you-over feeling of a benefactor.
‘Tell the white man that Ezeulu will not be anybody’s chief, except Ulu’
‘What!’ shouted Clarke. ‘Is the fellow mad?’
‘I tink so sah,’ said the interpreter.
‘In that case he goes back to prison.’ Clarke was now really angry. What cheek! A witch-doctor making a fool of the British Administration in public!" (498)

The selection of Ezeulu as a potential Warrant Chief is typical of the kind of selection regularly made by the British - a man who was already in the possession of real authority and wealth in his community. However, the responses of those chosen were not always as idealistic as Ezeulu’s. Many Igbos jumped at the chance of some real power, safe in the knowledge that they were backed by British officials, and Warrant chiefs became notorious for their corruption and exploitation. Speaking of the Warrant Chief he has instigated in Okperi, Winterbottom exclaims:

"The man was a complete non-entity until we crowned him, and now he carries on as if he had been nothing else all his

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