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Complex Culture in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Example In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe the author teaches us how the Ibo and are both uncivilized in their own ways. The Ibo are uncivilized in their technology. While are uncivilized in their worldview and the way they treat other people. The text states He had an old rusty gun made by a clever blacksmith who came to live in Umofia long ago pg.38. This shows how technologically primitive the people of Umofia are. Most of their tools and weapons are simple tools, and the little bit of advanced technology they have came from another culture. But even though they have some advanced technology they cannot replicate it. We see this in the quote when it says the gun was made by a foreign blacksmith, it seems as though they can use advanced technology but don’t have the means to make the items tools themselves. If they could it’s fair to say guns, medicine, and other technologies would be more abundant in Umofia. The text also states that Umuru is on the bank of the Great River, where the white men first came many years before and where they had built the center of their high religion trade, and government. Pg.174. This quote shows the way are uncivilized by exposing their Conquer all attitude. They came to Africa and immediately started colonizing and changing the people’s culture the way they saw fit. And even worse, they do all of this without a knowledge of the culture or people. He spoke through an interpreter This shows us the little understanding of the Ibo have, if they can’t even speak their language they definitely do not understand the complexity of Ibo culture, and all their customs. Yet with this giant lack of understanding, they still changed the government, tried to kill the Ibo’s religion, and punished the tribe for subscribing to their ancient rituals and customs. All this action with no understanding shows how uncivilized are. Believing their way is the best way without even understanding the other options. Things Fall Apart by Achebe shows us the Ibo are technologically uncivilized but are culturally and morally uncivilized. It might even be argued that the Ibo are more civilized, sure they don’t have iron armour, or large ships, or probably even maps. But they do have a very complex culture that tends to stay focused on itself, whereas are focused on converting everything else. To me, the ladder seems more uncivilized.

In his novel Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe draws a lively portrait of a Nigerian people, the Ibo, at the end of the nineteenth century, when colonization began in Africa. Chinua Achebe’s main achievement in the novel that of accurately rendering a complex picture of the African cultural tradition and identity from the inside the tradition itself, that is, by telling a story of the Ibo people that speaks for itself and which sees life from the perspective of the Nigerian people and not from the outside. The most important message of the novel is clearly the gradual demise of the Ibo culture, its traditions, customs, and religion under the powerful white European civilization. This message is already enclosed in the title of the novel: Achebe describes in his novel the falling apart of the African culture. The Christian white missionaries in the novel, Mr. Brown and Rev. Smith are a major cause of the things falling apart. It is obvious that Achebe, without being critical of Christianity as a religion, criticizes the methods that were used by the white colonizers to undermine the African culture. While the conversion tactics used by the two missionaries are very different; Mr. Brown is moderate and tries to establish a relationship with the people while Rev. Smith is overzealous and intransigent and instigates major conflicts inside the Umuofia clan- both contribute to the same end: the falling apart of a culture. Thus, Mr. Brown’s moderation in his conversion tactics is obviously contrasted with Rev. Smith’s zealousness. Mr. Brown, the first who comes as a missionary, tries to temper some of the intemperate converts, such as Enoch for example, and thus keeps some of the conflicts inside the clan at bay. Also, he builds a school and a hospital for the village and tries to maintain peaceful relationships with everyone. He can be said to be successful in his practices in as much as he gains the respect of most of the members of the clan: ‘Mr. Brown preached against such excesses of zeal, and so Mr. Brown came to be respected even by the clan because he trod softly on its faith'(Achebe 163). By contrast, Rev. Smith is portrayed as intransigent and limited in his views, seeing things as either black or white, completely banishing the inferior African culture and religion and trying to bring it out of darkness into the light: ‘[He] saw things as black and white. And black was evil. He saw the world as a battlefield in which the children of light were locked in mortal combat with the sons of darkness. He spoke in his sermons about sheep and goats and about wheat and tares. He believed in slaying the prophet of Baal’ (Achebe, 130). Rev. Smith encourages all the overzealous practices of the converts and causes Enoch to eat a python that was considered sacred by the clan. All these conflicts inside the Ibo people are irremediable wrongs that obviously cause the eventual demise of the culture itself

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Thus the tactics of conversion used by two missionaries are indeed contrastive, since Mr. Brown has taken some understanding while Rev. Smith has none, but they are not entirely opposite. There are many instances of the author’s sarcasm with respect to the good intentions of both of the missionaries. First of all, the names he gives them put them on an equal footing: Brown and Smith are both typical, nondescript names, Also, they both have the same obvious end in their missions: to submerge the African culture under the superior white one. Achebe uses ironical, indirect devices to portray both of the methods used: Mr. Smith is seemingly a superior character who is greatly distressed by the ignorance of the people that he is trying to convert to the new religion and who believes, in contrast with Mr . Brown, that only a few, superior and overzealous elect people can have access to real faith: ‘Mr. Smith was greatly distressed by the ignorance that many of his showed even in such things as the Trinity and the Sacraments. It only showed that they were seeds sown on rocky soil. Mr. Brown had thought of nothing but numbers. He should have known that the kingdom of God did not depend on large crowds. Our Lord Himself stressed the importance of fewness. Our Lord used the whip only once in His life — to drive the crowd away from the Church. ‘(Achebe, 169) On the other hand, Mr. Brown seems to have an overall positive contribution to the African community. Nevertheless, the author ironically implies that there is indeed only a difference in method between the two missionaries, and the decline of the Ibo culture already began under the more lenient government of Mr. Brown. For example, the school he builds can be seen as another way to indoctrinate the clan. This school is in fact the cause of other conflicts inside the Ibo community, since by attending this school an Ibo could become a messenger that is someone who would report and give out information from inside the clan to the white governors: ‘Mr. Brown’s school produced quick results. A few months in it were enough to make one a court messenger or even a court clerk. Those who stayed longer became teachers: and from Umuofia laborers went forth into the courtchurches were established in the surrounding villages and a few schools with From the very beginning religion and education went hand in hand.’ (Achebe, 166) Moreover, it is hard to speak of success with any of these missionaries, since the author shows that what is achieved through the conversions and the indoctrination is merely a deepening of the gap between the two cultures, the white and the African. The Ibo people do not understand the new religion, but merely associate it with their own views of the world, a fact that shows the complete inadequacy of preaching it in the first place: ‘It was not the mad logic of the Trinity that captivated him. He did not understand it. It was the poetry of the new religion, something felt in the marrow’ (Achebe, 137). The irony of Achebe is obvious: through various methods, exemplified by the two missionaries, the white man insinuated his own culture in the African culture. Mr. Brown’s soft tactic and Mr. Smith’s loud one, have essentially the same effect of creating confusion and conflict among the Ibo people and thus, by bringing them apart, undermining the African culture itself. ‘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 over our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.’ (Achebe, 152) The conclusion thus: Mr. Brown uses soft methods to convert the Ibo people, while Mr. Smith is a true religious tyrant, but both of them serve the same end eventually and bring destruction to the Nigerian tribe. Neither of them succeeds in anything more than causing things to fall apart by trying to civilize the Africans. To emphasize the importance of this impact on the Ibo by the European autocracy, at the end of Things Fall Apart the narrator reveals the sorriest irony of all: the District Commissioner’s mental absorption with a book he is writing, which he hopes to title The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger. It was not that had pacified the violent primitives. Rather it was that they had been too pacified to cope with the less pacified Western cultures. The ending of the novel is a culmination of the author’s irony: the District Commissioner intends to write a novel on the events that had taken place in Achebe’s own novel: ‘The story of this man who had killed the messenger and hanged himself would make interesting reading. One could almost write a whole chapter on him There was so much else to include, and one must be firm in cutting out details. He had already chosen the title of the novel, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger (Achebe, 191). The novel that the Commissioner intends to write about Africa includes a small paragraph about Okonkwo’s life proving the misunderstanding of the white people of the complex African culture. Okonkwo’s tragedy described in Achebe’s novel is thus the tragedy of the Ibo culture itself that falls apart under the new dominating white wave. Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith are both instruments for this destruction. The pacification of the primitive tribes is a typical phrase for the colonialists who were convinced that the Africans were savage people who needed their salvation, while Achebe’s novel proves exactly the opposite, through the insight into real African tradition.

Analyzing the conception of Multiculturalism in Things Fall Apart is a modern African literature written by Chinua Achebe in 1959 and it’s also a critique of the colonial period and the impact of colonialism on African society. It depicts the real picture of Nigeria when imperialism arrived during the late 19th century and the early 20th century which becomes an epitome of the whole Africa. He can able to articulate African reality in postcolonial literature by using Western fiction or language. However, he sets the novel to describe the traditional culture of Igbo society and the clash between the Nigerian society and the imperialists who govern the state. The description is too close to the truth that it proceeds to comprehend the impact of imperialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo culture. The collision between two different cultures causes great problems and disrupts the Nigerian heritage culture. In his fictional world, he portrays the cultural values of the Igbo community and how they lost their dignity during that period. They resisted against Western norms and values that were imposed upon them so, they tried to reorganise their nation rather they became disillusioned in post post-independent era because of their internal dilemma. Achebe’s aim in writing Things Fall Apart was a kind of sharp criticism and a critique of such novels as Joseph Conard’s Heart of Darkness he documented Africa at the time of colonialism which means that the civilization of Africa established within the period of colonialism that’s why Achebe wrote his novels in English to convey the real picture of Nigerian culture in the pre-colonial and colonial period and as the assertion that Nigeria has its own history. Achebe often said ‘Art has a social purpose and can influence things.’ (Granqvist 28). He goes on to resist the exploitation of colonial powers and their beliefs which imposed their authority over the Igbo community.

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