"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe.

Essay by sweetprincessCollege, UndergraduateB+, April 2003

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The Effects of Colonization on the Village of Umuofia

The coming of the missionaries brings great disruption amongst the village of Umuofia. After thousands of years of unviolated and untouched tribal existence, Okonkwo returns after just seven years of exile to find his village almost unrecognizable. Similarly, his fellow villagers didn't seem to recognize or care to recognize him. Instead, ''the new religion and government and trading stores were very much in the people's eyes and minds ... they talked and thought about little else, and certainly not about Okonkwo's return'' (182). The Europeans have been active in Nigeria for just seven years and already the pre-colonial Nigeria has been lost. This shows just how rapidly the colonization took effect. It seems inevitable that much indigenous tradition and heritage will be swept away, resulting in feelings of cultural dislocation, and loss of identity.

Despite the fact that author Achebe doesn't seem to keen about the colonization, he does mention some positive aspects.

He clearly does not object to the discovery of and learning about new religions and cultures. He presents a strong argument in favor of discussion as a way of understanding. In Things Fall Apart, the missionary Mr. Brown and Akunna, one of the tribal elders, often spend long hours in discussion, and although ''Neither of them succeeded in converting the other ... they learned more about their different beliefs'' (179). This demonstrates a mutual relationship, in which both parties are equally eager to learn when approached on equal terms.

I don't think that Achebe was trying to demonstrate that pre-colonial Nigeria was superior to life in Europe. What he is trying to convey is the existence of culture and beliefs before the appearance of the missionaries. Similarly, he does not try to force Nigerian culture...