Western Beliefs In Things Fall Apart

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During the African colonization period, Western beliefs greatly impacted the African mindset and belief system. In the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe the impact of Western beliefs is very evident. The novel focuses on pre- and post- colonial life in Nigeria. It was among the first novels to be recognized globally by an African author, and it is widely read in modern African literature. The story is about the fall of the main character Okonkwo as well as the Igbo culture. European beliefs clashed with the traditions that are rooted deep into the society of this Nigerian community. The Igbo, especially Okonkwo, at first try to fight the influence of the evangelists; nevertheless the arrival of Christianity largely affects the Igbo religion,…show more content…
The Evil Forest plays a major role in the society, the people believe that all evil things live in the forest. The forest is thought to be “ ... alive with sinister forces and powers of darkness” (148), and therefore anything believed to be evil is thrown into the forest. One of things viewed as evil are twins, and they are perceived as supernatural beings that would bring bad luck to the society and the family. For this reason, they are “... put in earthenware pots and thrown away in the forest” (61). Children who died at an early age or at childbirth are also seen as a detriment to their mother; so they are left in the forest. If a woman kept losing babies, the medicine men would “... mutilate the child” (78). This action keeps the spirit of the dead child from coming back to cause his/her mother any more pain. There are certain types of sicknesses that if a person has they would not be allowed to die in the house, so they would be “… carried to the evil forest and left there to die” (18). Some of these illnesses are smallpox, leprosy, swelling in stomach and the limbs. The only practice that is justifiable is leaving sick people to die in the forest. It makes sense because in doing so, the risk of other people contracting that disease is eliminated. The judicial system is somehow similar to the Western system. In the clan when there is a dispute both sides presents their case to the egwugwu. The egwugwu represents the spirits of the ancestors and they are the leaders of the clan. There are nine egwugwu are the equivalent of a jury; they hear both sides of the case and decide the verdict. The trials are usually public, and the public is allowed to watch in their social groups. These practices and beliefs that the Igbo thought helped their community were soon put to
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