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Imperialism and Colonialism in Things Fall Apart

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Jesenia Santana

on 26 March 2014

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Transcript of Imperialism and Colonialism in Things Fall Apart

Why is
Things Fall Apart

Ibo People
Author and Book Cover
Colonialism in Things Fall Apart
central conflict of the novel
Okonkwo's reaction to the English missionaries
aggressive, violent
Villages reaction = more passive
dissolved the identity of the villages
erdicated centuries of tradition
forced Christrian teachings
got rid of inhumane and violent practices
lessened ignorance of the unknown
economic growth through trade
African Perspective
In-depth look at the Native Population
Less focus on how colonialism affected Europe
Conveyed African Culture in a natural light
not as 'rudimentary souls'
Achebe accused Conrad of racism, arrogance, and ethnocentrism
Heart of Darkness uses Africa as a prop for storytelling
Achebe strived to illustrate the otherside of a similar story.
Brief Summary
"Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world. The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul."
gods for harvest, fortune, health, etc.
"Chi" - personal god
responsible for life events
unified the Ibo people
passed down through generations
connected to religious beliefs
listen to the elders
interpret the Oracle
"Egwugwu" - the nine spirits
symbol of the village
Social Structure
Success = status
More titles = more status = more success
The leaders of the village are the most prosperous
Women are used and ordered around
The Feast of the New Yam
Bride Price

About the Book
Published in 1958
Set in pre-colonial Nigeria
Template for "Modern
African Literature"
sold over 8 million copies
translated into 50
Exposition of Culture
Key Themes
Compared to Heart of Darkness

Masculinity vs. Feminity
Manliness is equated to strength
One is strong because the men in their society are strong
Masculine and Feminine crops
Yams were the fundamental crop of the Ibo people
Hard to grow, they are considered manly.
Men over other men through wealth and status
Men over women through birthright and marriage
Women are viewed to be property to the men
Tradition vs. Change
Struggle for dominance between Okonkwo and the Christian Missionaries
Limited view on the outside world
Okonkwo's stubbornness to change results in violence
Those who cannot adapt to change perish
The society more accepting of the missionaries
Okonkwo is violent towards them
Ends in his death
Chinua Achebe's debut novel brought African culture to the focus of Western Literature
Showed the otherside of European Colonialism
Paved the way for more historical fiction to be presented from this perspective.
Global recognition of what happened in Africa
Full transcript