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Chapters 17-19: Incursions into Igbo Culture- The Clash between Coloniser and Colonised
Transcript of Chapters 17-19: Incursions into Igbo Culture- The Clash between Coloniser and Colonised
The "crazy men" (131) build a church in the evil forest but nobody dies, even after 28 days
The missionaries begin acquiring a number of converts, including a woman, who has had several sets of twins, and Nwoye
When Okonkwo learns that Nwoye has been seen among the Christians, he beats him with a heavy stick until Uchendu commands him to stop
Okonkwo does not understand how a "Roaring Flame" like him could have fathered such a "degenerate and effeminate" son. He realises that Nwoye resembles his grandfather, Unoka
Okonkwo believes that his chi has turned against him.
"Living fire begets cold, impotent ash"
Analysis of Chapter 18: Church and Clan Three incidents of conflict occur between church and clan, but these conflicts are kept under control due to the restraint shown by both parties
1st incident: the three converts threaten to destroy the shrines. They are beaten but the church does not seek revenge
2nd incident: The osu and efulefu, who are set aside to serve the gods, decide to join the church. The Igbo people do not take any action, even when the two osu shave off their long hair. (138)
3rd incident: When Okoli kills the sacred royal python, the clan merely ostracises him. Mr Kiaga also restrains the Christians when they are debarred from the stream (139)
Okonkwo , who suggested driving out this "abominable gang... with whips" (139), is disgusted when the clan decides to ostracise Okoli. H econsiders the clan "womanly" (140) Why Christianity? Types of converts: osu, efulefu, women who have borne twins, Nwoye
Osu: clan outcasts who are treated cruelly not because of their actions but because of their birth. Osu cannot marry freeborn, and the children of osu become osu also. Christianity offers them recognition and respect which the tribe has denied them. Therefore, they become the most enthusiastic converts. Analysis of Chapter 19: Clan Falls Apart Okonkwo throws a grand feast to thank his mother's kinsmen for their kindness (145): "I cannot live on the bank of a river and wash my hands with spittle"
The oldest member of the umunna makes a speech about the importance of kinship. He says that the younger generation has failed to understand how to "speak with one voice"
However, his warning may have come too late, as the villagers' strong bonds are threatened- not by the white missionaries but by the Christian converts
Overall summary of Part Two During the seven years of exile, major changes have taken place
1. Coming of the white men and establishment of the church- threatening clan unity
Tongue-in-cheek descriptions of clashes between Christians and clan
Christians succeed in pointing out the fallacies of Igbo beliefs i.e. outcasts' hair, Evil Forest
When these beliefs are proven untrue, the villagers begin to feel awed by the Christian god's power
2. Okonkwo's decline: loses the energy of his youth and the privileges of being an elder (has to listen to Uchendu and cannot dictate village decision-making)
A result of his chi or his own actions?
Do things fall apart from within or without?