Colonization and Superstition: Themes in Things Fall Apart That Mirror Society

In: English and Literature

Submitted By niklas
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The novel Things Fall Apart is a classic novel that was written in 1958 by African author Chinua Achebe. This timeless novel about the Ibo people of Nigeria mirrors society in many different ways. Two recurring themes in the novel are colonization and superstition, and they each mirror society in their own individual way. Many of the superstitions that we are familiar with today do not seem to be as far-fetched as the ones depicted in the novel, and yet the society we live in is still very superstitious. One may argue that colonization is a thing of the past, but the affects of colonization are still being felt in many places around the world to this day. Colonization and superstition are major themes illustrated in the novel Things Fall Apart and they also mirror life in our society today.
The affects of colonization in Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart are very prominent towards the end of the novel. After the missionaries have settled in Umuofia, the dynamic of the villages change. Obeirika, Okonkwo’s closest friend comments on the smarts of the “white man” in this excerpt from the novel:
“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably 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 things that held us together and we have fallen apart” (Achebe, 176).
This quote heavily demonstrates the effects of colonization on the Ibo people. The missionaries, or the “white man” did not force any of the people of Umuofia to convert to Christianity, but rather waited for the dissatisfied people viewed as weak in the Ibo society (i.e. women, men without titles, and children) to seek them out to learn about their religion. Slowly but surely, Christianity gained popularity and divided the community into those who followed the religion of…...

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