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Things Fall Apart

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Caroline Nguyen

on 22 July 2014

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Transcript of Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe is a Nigerian novelist and author of Things Fall Apart, a work that in part led to his being called the "patriarch of the African novel."
Chinua Achebe

Religion
Cultural Imperialism
Cultural imperialism involves the universalization of a dominant group's experience and culture by establishing it as the norm.
Things Fall Apart (1958)
Things Fall Apart is an English-language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe published in 1958 in the midst of the Nigerian renaissance.
by: Caroline, Victoria, Matthew and Arandeep
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
November 16, 1930 - March 21, 2013
Born Albert Chinualumogu
("May God fight on my behalf")
Achebein Nigeria in 1930.
Chinua Achebe attended the University of Ibadan.
In 1958, his groundbreaking novel Things Fall Apart was published.
Achebe later served as the David and Marianna Fisher University professor and professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
Written by Chinua Achebe
Most of the story takes place in the village of Umuofia, located west of the actual city of Onitsha, on the east bank of the Niger River in Nigeria. The events of the novel unfold in the 1890s.
Things Fall Apart highlights the clash between colonialism and traditional culture.
Despite converting to Christianity himself, Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart not only in response to the then-common misrepresentations of his native people, but to show the dignity of the Igbo to his fellow citizens.
Agenda
Greetings and introduction
Author - Chinua Achebe
Book - Things Fall Apart
Introduce the topic
Definitions
Thesis
Cultural Imperialism
Intro to Religion
Familial structure
Religion
Connection - Victoria/Caroline
Political Structures
Connection - Aran
Violence
Racism
Connection - Matthew
Discussion Questions
Conclusion
Topic:
How does the text Things Fall Apart, explicitly and/or allegorically, represent various aspects of colonial oppression?
Definitions:
Allegory
- A narrative that has both a primary and secondary meaning, Often referred to as a story with a double meaning.

Explicit
- Stated clearly and in detail (a direct explanation).

Oppression
- Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control or the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control.

Colonialism
- the policy or practice of aquiring full or partial political control over another country occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.
Thesis
Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, conveys various aspects of colonial oppression through religion, familial structures, racism and violence among the people of Umuofia and the impact colonizers have on the villagers along with their cultures.
The Tortoise and the Birds
African European
Polytheism Monotheism
Connection
Connection - Victoria:
Connection - Caroline:
Context
Ekwefi is telling her daughter, Ezinma, a story
The tortoise begs the birds to help him fly up to the sky with them for the feast.
The birds each give the tortoise a feather to help him fly up
Upon arrival, the tortoise eats all of the food leaving the birds with only the scraps
The birds take their feathers back and the tortoise must fall from the sky to get back to Earth
The tortoise's shell breaks which explains why its shell is not smooth
Allegory
The story can be interpreted explicitly as a story about how the tortoise's shell came to be
Can be interpreted allegorically through comparison to colonization
The tortoise represents the colonizers who trick the villagers, the birds
The missionaries take what the Igbo had and use it for themselves (the feathers) leave the Igbo with scraps
- Through diluting the traditional values, religions, causing violence and creating an "us" in the Ibo culture, colonialism is destroying the unique culture.
Violence
Religion plays a major role in the lives of the Igbo people as it is seen to influence many decisions (the Oracle)
This relates to the motif of using the supernatural as seen in
Oedipus the King
Shows the reader that the Igbo people are highly influenced by their religion and they console their beliefs or the Oracle before making any decisions

For example: 1. The killing of Ikemefuna was done as per the word of the Oracle who requested it
2. Twins being abandoned in the Evil Forest

Connects to the theme of Moral Decision Making from
Hamlet
:
The Igbo did not make decisions using their morals but instead their beliefs.
These two incidences cause Nwoye to question the actions requested by his religion.
Shows the reader that he and possibly others begin to think morally as they begin to doubt their religious customs.

Leah Marie Remini is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Carrie Heffernan on the CBS hit sitcom The King of Queens from 1998 to 2007.
For over thirty years Remini was a member of the Church of Scientology. In July 2013, Remini left the Church of Scientology owing to policies that forbid members from questioning the management of church leader David Miscavige, which she believed was corrupt.
Introduction of Christianity
A "new religion" is introduced to the Igbo through Mr. Brown
The missionaries impose their views of religion onto the Igbo.

The translator to a missionary says, "All the gods you have named are not gods at all. They are gods of deceit who tell you to kill your fellows and destroy innocent children. There is only one true God and He has the earth, the sky, you and me and all of us." (Achebe 146)
The missionaries completely disregard the gods that the Igbo already have and force the idea of monotheism upon them, however, many clans remain tolerant of the church's presence

Some people accepted, embraced and converted to Christianity
Such people included: The
osu
(outcasts) because they were not accepted in their current society but were accepted by the church

In Joseph McLaren's critical analysis in the book
Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart
he states that, "Christian preachings are perceived as offering answers to problematic cultural decisions" (McLaren 107)
An example of such a character is Nwoye who seeks answers to the problematic decision of killing Ikemefuna and leaving twin babies stranded in the forest

Some people not only convert to Christianity, but also begin to go against their old beliefs and disrespecting the things they once believed
Examples: The killing of the royal python, and Enoch removing the mask of the
egwugwu
which is equivalent to killing an ancestral spirit
In relation to Things Fall Apart, Nwoye has also left his religion for something he believed was better. Both Leah and Nwoye made a decision based on what they think is right causing them to go against the religion they grew up with.
Violence plays a huge role in how situations and conflicts are dealt with.
Rules and punishments that they enforced were justified because it has been what they have lived by for generations.
After colonization, violence changes in a negative way


Okonkwo is exiled for killing someone
The missionaries hang those who kill people
Familial Structure
Okonkwo and Nwoye
"They had no hatred in their hearts against Okonkwo...They were merely cleansing the land which Okonkwo had polluted with the blood of a clansman."
(Achebe 125).
Due to Nwoye's unhappiness, his relationship with his father, Okonkwo, struggles to stay up throughout the novel.
Leads to Nwoye converting to Christianity knowing his father would not agree with it.
The impact of colonization affects the individual relationships within families.


Result of colonization: forget about justified violence and follow what the missionaries instruct them to do.
Political Structure
Leah Remini
Connection - Matthew:
Dead Poets Society
Racism
Niel was a talented actor.
He was oppressed by his father.
Not allowed to act because his father did not support it.
Committed suicide because he could not live with his father's oppression.
Church is the base for colonization.
Converts were beaten and oppressed by clan.
White missionaries built court and jail to protect converts.
Leaders including Okonkwo were oppressed when imprisoned.
The missionaries coming to Africa and teaching their experiences to the Igbo can be seen as white people trying to take advantage of black people.
The villagers lose the ties they once had with their culture.
Several of the Igbo, including Okonkwo, become angry and dislike the way they are being treated by the missionaries.
Okonkwo commits suicide, giving the Commissioner, Mr. James Smith, more material for his book.
Instead of seeing these unfortunate events of the Igbo as tragic, Smith sees it as an golden opportunity.
He decides that the title for his book will be "The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger." (Achebe 209).
"He carries a strong stick, and he hit each man a few blows on the head and back" (Achebe 195).
Question Time!
Conclusion:
The Hunger Games
The idea of one party having control over another is similar in both Suzanne Collins'
The Hunger Games
and Chinua Achebe's
Things Fall Apart


In
The Hunger Games
, the government is not simply used to maintain order but instead used to show power


This is similar to the group of missionaries that gain control as they do not colonize the area to maintain it and its culture, but instead gain power of it

Both parties show their power;
The Capitol in
The Hunger Games
since the hunger games itself is used to show the power they had over all of the districts to prevent rebellion
The missionaries in
Things Fall Apart
since they change the entire society of the Igbo people through new institutions, and changing their religion
Thank you for watching our presentation.
We hope you enjoyed it!
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany during World War II.
Adolf Hitler was controlling all that went on within Germany and even other parts of Europe.
Hitler wanted the world to be "perfect."
In order to achieve this, the education system was changed to teach children of Hitler's beliefs (the Hitler Youth Movement).
Students and adults were forced to accept what was being taught or else they could be faced with their deaths.
Before the war began, this was not an issue and people were free to believe whatever they wanted.
They were oppressed by those with a higher power and were threatened if they did not follow the rules.
In Thing Fall Apart, the missionaries teach the Igbo what they know and stress to them that they are right. This causes many of the villagers to forget what their culture has taught them, similar to those who followed the teachings of Adolf Hitler and in the process lost their identities.
Work Cited
McLaren, Joseph. "Missionaries and Converts: Religion and Colonial Intrusion in
Things Fall Apart." Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations: Chinua Achebe's
Things Fall Apart. Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2002. 103-112. Print.
To be oppressed is to be held back and unable to do what you would like. Colonization is when a powerful group or country take control of a less powerful country in order to occupy it with settlers and exploit it economically. In Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, the people of the village Umofia start off as a strong and powerful community. However, after colonization, they lose their identities when they begin to follow what the missionaries are trying to teach them. As a group, we came to realize that to fully understand colonial oppression, there are several aspects to be discussed such as: religion, familial and political structure, violence and racism. All of these aspects have taught us that when an independent group of people are constantly being told they are wrong for believing in what they do, they begin to forget who they really are and where they came from.

Chinua Achebe conveys through his novel that the most important thing a person can have is their culture. Culture is filled with traditions, rituals and customs that are passed down from generation to generation. Okonkwo and the rest of his people are faced with the difficulty of maintaining their loyalty to their culture when the white missionaries arrive to their village. Although colonialism causes some to turn their backs on their faith, Okonkwo managed to fight against it. By listening to what other people have to say, you start to forget what your own opinions may be.

Everyone is entitled to believe what they want, and it is not right to take away a person's right to do so.

On behalf of my group and I, I thank you for listening to our presentation focusing on colonial oppression in the novel Things Fall Apart.

Achebe, Chinua.
Things Fall Apart.
New York: Anchor Books, 1994. Print.
Full transcript