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Sunday 19 October 2014


Aparna T.V
II-MA English Theme of Colonialism in ‘Things Fall Apart’ Introduction :                  Poet and novelist Chinua Achebe was one of the most important Africanwriters. He was also considered by many to be one of the most original literary artists writing in English during his lifetime. He is best known for his novel Things Fall Apart (1958). Born Albert Chinualumogo Achebe, Chinua Achebe was raised by Christian evangelical parents in the large village Ogidi, in Igboland, Eastern Nigeria. He received an early education in English, but grew up surrounded by a complex fusion of Igbo traditions and colonial legacy. He studied literature and medicine at the University of Ibadan; after graduating, he went to work for the Nigerian Broadcasting Company in Lagos and later studied at the British Broadcasting Corporation staff school in London.                    During this time, Achebe was developing work as a writer. Starting in the 1950s, he was central to a new Nigerian literary movement that drew on the oral traditions of Nigeria's indigenous tribes. Although Achebe wrote in English, he attempted to incorporate Igbo vocabulary and narratives. Things Fall Apart (1958) was his first novel, and remains his best-known work. It has been translated into at least forty-five languages, and has sold eight million copies worldwide. Chinua Achebe’s  “African Trilogy” :     captures a society caught between its traditional roots and the demands of a rapidly changing world.                    A titled Ibo chieftain himself, Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Ibo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory. He also published a number of short stories, children's books, and essay collections. From 2009 until his death, he served as a professor at Brown University  in the United States.
 Introduction to Colonialism :                         Colonialism as defined by Oxford English Dictionary  refers to “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically”. It is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony and often between the colonists and the indigenous population. In his preface to Jürgen Osterhammel's Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview, Roger Tignor says, "For Osterhammel, the essence of colonialism is the existence of colonies, which are by definition governed differently from other territories such as protectorates or informal spheres of influence." In the book, Osterhammel asks, "How can 'colonialism' be defined independently from 'colony?'  He settles on a definition:Colonialism is a relationship between an indigenous (or forcibly imported) majority and a minority of foreign invaders. The fundamental decisions affecting the lives of the colonized people are made and implemented by the colonial rulers in pursuit of interests that are often defined in a distant metropolis. Rejecting cultural compromises with the colonized population,the colonizers are convinced of their own superiority and their ordained mandate to rule”                  The European colonial period was the era from the 16th century to the mid-20th century when several European powers (particularly, but not exclusively, Portugal,SpainBritain, the NetherlandsRussiaItaly and France) established colonies in AsiaAfrica, and the Americas. Colonialism was always portrayed in the colonizing country  as bringing benefits for the colony. They included: increased standard of living, benefits of Christianity, improved health and education, establishing law and order, etc. The sincerity with which and the extent to which these benefits were provided are often at the very least questionable. Also, many now-independent colonies have not yet recovered from the psychological trauma of colonialism. Types of Colonialism : Historians often distinguish between two overlapping forms of colonialism:Settler colonialism involves large-scale immigration, often motivated by religious, political, or economic reasons as seen in America.Exploitation colonialism involves fewer colonists and focuses on access to resources for export. This category includes trading posts as well as larger colonies where colonists would constitute much of the political and economic administration, but would rely on indigenous resources for labour and material. This type of colonialism was practiced in Africa by the European colonial powers.
                            Towards the end of the nineteenth century most European states migrated to Africa and other parts of the world where they established colonies. Nigeria was amongst other African nations that received visitors who were on a colonising mission; introducing their religion and culture that is later imposed on their culture.
                                 The Europeans held a Eurocentric view of the world; firmly believing European culture to be superior. Eurocentrism therefore perceives Europe as the core of civilisation and of humanity. Eurocentrism had racist tendencies which granted an inferior status to the non-whites. Fundamental to the Age of Imperialism was the “scramble for Africa” period of the 1880s to the 1890s. The Europeans became hungry for Africa's natural resources, resulting in their arrival into Africa as well as their hostile takeover of the land. During this period many European countries set colonies in Africa. One of the reasons that the Europeans had for colonising Africa was their claim to civilise the primitive African minds as a humanitarian act. Soon African states were dominated by European power be it economic, political or social.
  Things Fall Apart-  An Introduction :                      The novel ‘Things Fall Apart’  is centered on the life of the protagonist of the novel, Okonkwo. As the novel develops Okonkwo accidentally kills a man and he and his family are exiled from his village Umuofia. During his exile white missionaries arrive in Umuofia and change the village. When Okonkwo returns to his village he sees the major transformations that Umuofia has undergone during his exile.
                   Unhappy with the change, Okonkwo and other villagers come together to drive the white missionaries out of their land. Their efforts are in vain as the missionaries send their messengers to abort the meeting. Okonkwo kills one of the messengers and in shock at his actions the villagers let the other messengers escape. The messengers report back to the missionaries and they take off to bring Okonkwo to justice only to find him dead.               Achebe’s primary purpose of writing the novel is because he wants to educate his readers about the value of his culture as an African. Things Fall Apart provides readers with an insight of Igbo society right before the white missionaries’ invasion on their land. The invasion of the colonising force threatens to change almost every aspect of Igbo society; from religion, traditional gender roles and relations, family structure to trade.                 Before Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart, all the novels that had been written about Africa and Africans were written by Europeans. Mostly, the European writings described Africans as uncivilised and uneducated persons. The Europeans, seeing that they thought of themselves as more advanced than Africans, were determined to help Africans shift from the old era into the modern era of civilisation and education.
                    Heart of Darkness, for instance, by Joseph Conrad was one of the most read novels around the time of its publication in 1899. Conrad described Africa as a “wild, ‘dark’, and uncivilised continent” (Sickels 1). Following Conrad’s novel in 1952 was Mister Johnson, a novel by Joyce Cary. Like Heart of Darkness, Mister Johnson was also quite a popular read its reviews suggest it was a more popular read than Heart of Darkness. According to Sickels, the novel’s protagonist Mr Johnson generally as a “childish, semi-educated African who reinforces colonialist stereotypes about Africa”
                     It is through the insights of Things Fall Apart that the world became more appreciative of Africa and its people and at the same time the truth surrounding the stereotypical ideas that once existed about Africa began to appear in a much clearer light.  Achebe brilliantly sets universal tales of personal and moral struggle in the context of the tragic drama of colonization.  It  depicts the African culture, their superstitions and religious rites through the Igbo society. This novel is a response to as well as a record of the traumatic consequences of the western capitalist colonialism on the traditional values and institutes of the African people.
                      Things Fall Apart was followed by a sequel, No Longer at Ease(1960), originally written as the second part of a larger work along with ‘Arrow of God(1964). Achebe  states that his two later  novels, ‘A Man of the People’  (1966) and  ‘Anthills of the Savannah (1987), while not featuring Okonkwo's descendants, are spiritual successors to the previous novels in chronicling African history.   Colonialism in ‘Things Fall Apart’ :      “ART  is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.”                                                                                                               - Chinua Achebe
                When we study the history of Asian and African countries, the colonial experience plays  an important role in the better understanding of their history, culture and religion.  Chinua Achebe’s  “African Trilogy” :  Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God   captures a society caught between its traditional roots and the demands of a rapidly changing world.
                 In the masterful novels, Achebe brilliantly sets universal tales of personal and moral struggle in the context of the tragic drama of colonization.  It  depicts the African culture, their superstitions and religious rites through the Igbo society. This novel is a response to as well as a record of the traumatic consequences of the western capitalist colonialism on the traditional values and institutes of the African people.
                        For the countries in Asia, Africa and South America, the experience of colonialism plays an important role in the process of understanding their history. When we see this perception in the literature of these countries, we study it as postcolonial literature.  Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin rightly maintain that though historically “post-colonial” implies “after colonization,” in literature, it signifies “all the experience affected by the colonial process from the beginning of the colonization to the present day. Postcolonial studies critically analyze the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized, which is based on basically two things – knowledge and power.”                           
                           The theme of Colonialism is predominantly visible in the novel. As Said quotes Gramsci’s ideas of Civil and Political society in his work ‘Orientalism’ ,  Colonialism in the novel works at two levels. The Civil society which includes ‘schools, families, and unions’ , the Political society includes ‘ state institutions        ( the army, the police, the central bureaucracy) whose role in the polity is direct domination’  Said says that Culture operates under the civil society, where, the influence is through what Gramsci calls as ‘Consent’. In order to examine the two levels of colonialism, it is necessary to look into the pre-colonial Igbo society that Achebe portrays in his novel which was  rich and serene.
 “Turning and turning in the widening gyreThe falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”“He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.” (Achebe; Chapter 25 pg 187)                                     It may be seen that European colonialism is something which is vile as it has totally destroyed the culture and traditions of a group of people which in turn destroyed their identity. However, in how Okonkwo and his tribesmen practice their tradition, it can be seen that colonialism also has good effects since it has stripped the rather inhumane and illogical practices of the people such as how they exalt cultural violence. This type of violence can be seen in certain practices they had like “ritual sacrifices, punishment for crimes, and other kinds     of communal sanctioned violence” which is normal and accepted by the clan but is not entirely humane to the missionaries (Sickles,169). Of all the positive effects of colonialism as appearing in the novel and more than the economic progress it brings, it is the lessening of ignorance of the clan and the opening of the avenue for new knowledge and erasure of such violent cultural practices which is more poignant and more impacting.
Conclusion :                                   Achebe uses this opening stanza of William Butler Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming,” from which the title of the novel is taken, as an epigraph to the novel. In invoking these lines, Achebe hints at the chaos that arises when a system collapses. That “the center cannot hold” is an ironic reference to both the imminent collapse of the African tribal system, threatened by the rise of imperialist bureaucracies, and the imminent disintegration of the British Empire. Achebe, writing in 1959, had the benefit of retrospection in depicting Nigerian society and British colonialism in the 1890s.                                 
                          From the onset of the novel Achebe makes readers aware of the traditions, customs , beliefs and superstitions  of Igbo society.  Manliness is given importance throughout the novel showing how the Igbo natives view the idea of manliness.  The novel begins with the description of Okonkwo’s fame who rose to be a famous wrestler and an important member in the village of Umoufia. “That was many years ago, twenty years or more, and during this time Okokwo’s fame had grown lik a bush-fire in the harmattan.”   (Achebe ; Chapter 1 pg 3)
                              They also depend on language to define their social rank in their society. Okonkwo, for instance, when being compared to his father Unoka is considered as a wealthy man and not only because he has married a lot of women or his household produces many yams but because of his strength that helped him defeat one of the strongest wrestlers in the village. On the other hand, Unoka was a drunkard who had only one wife, not many yams and had no titles to his name by the time of his death. The village had named him agbala a term Igbo use to refer to “women as well as to men who have not taken a title”  consequently a man who deserves no respect from society because he is not “wealthy”. Title also plays a major role in giving an individual fame and status in Igbo society. “When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt”  In the household, the man was of supreme importance. The fame of a man depends on how many wives he has. In Okonkwo’s case , he was consider as a person of supreme power as he had acquired fame , titles and had married 3 wives and live with a family of 11 children Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children” (Achebe ;Chapter 2 pg12)
  Achebe also makes the readers aware of the proverbs and the art of conversation in Ibo society. “Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly,  and proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten “  (Achebe ; Chapter 1, pg 6) When Okoye pays Unoka a visit to ask him to settle his debt, and although Unoka is late with the payment, Okoye does not lash out at Unoka about his overdue debt. Rather, the neighbours share a kola nut, give thanks unto the ancestors and then go on to discuss the debt by speaking in proverbs . This maintains good relations between the two neighbours even though they are discussing such an issue that usually causes conflicts between people.
 “As he broke the kola, Unoka prayed to their ancestors for life and health, and for protection against their enemies.”  (Achebe ; chapter 1 pg 6)                                 Igbo life in the 1800`s was very much steeped in their mythology. The natives thought that every sign and event had a reason and purpose hence; their superstitions were very real to them. All their practices dated back to their forefathers and were meant to keep harmony with Mother Nature. Thus, they had a God for every different natural phenomenon that occurred. They worshipped things such as trees, pieces of wood, hills and caves. For every symbolic God there was a being in the clan that represented it. Ezeani   the Priestess of the Goddess of the Earth, represented the Goddess of Earth, “Ani the source of all fertility, ultimate judge of moral conduct who was in close communionwith departed fathers” (p 26). Besides, there was the Oracle of the Hills and the caves  in which the oracle was called Agbala , the woman who then got possessed by the spirit when the clan sought knowledge from the God through her. The people would usually listen to everything that the oracle said because they thought it wise.
 The Oracle was called Agbala, and people came from far and near to consult it” (Achebe ; Chapter 3 pg 15 )
 The people of the Ibo village had many strong superstitions they believed in, such as “Don't whistle at night for fear of evil spirits” … (Achebe; Chapter 2, pg 9) They were scared of night time except on moonlit nights as they thought it was when the evil spirits came out. Even the bravest people were held in terror of the dark. They even warned the children not to whistle at night because they feared the evil spirits would come out and the dangerous animals would grow even more sinister when dark. This is taken so such a serious extent that villagers would not even call a snake by its name at night because they thought it would hear, so it was called a string at night time. What the Ibo believed about darkness and snakes revealed the Igbo attitude toward the world(Chapter 2).
 “ Darkness held a vague terror for these people, even the bravest among them. Children were warned not to whistle at night for fear of evil spirits”  ( Achebe ; Chapter 2 pg 10). Another strong superstition they hold on to was the festival of The Week of Peace  which took place the week before the Igbo started to plant their yam crops. It was called this way because they believed that no violence should be spread around. However, during this week
 “ And that was the year Okonkwo broke the peace, and was punished, as was the custom, by Ezeani, the priest of the earth goddess” (Achebe ;Chapter 4 pg 26 )                           Okonkwo commits a great sin by beating his wife, “it is believed that evil will fall upon the whole clan, so he must repent" (pg. 29)Also, no work would be done during that week. All people did was to talk to their neighbours and drank palm-wine to relax. By doing so, they ensured good luck for a good crop season. However, if someone were to break the rule of the Week of Peace, then there would come a bad crop season, and most of the crops would die.(Chapter4). Here we can observe how important the power of the Gods is to the clan. The  main superstition they had was the belief in the silk-cotton tree as home to the good spirits of children waiting to be born. The young women who wanted to have children would just go under the tree. In addition, they believed that children had up until the age of six to decide if they wanted to live or not. If they decided to be a devilish child, then it would usually die at the age of six. (Chapter 6)
  Further instances of superstition can be traced to the “Personal Chi” the Igbo tribe believed in.“Chi” could be a personal fragment of the Supreme Being, unique for each individual. It determined much of a person's success and character.
  "When a man says yes his chi says yes also" (Achebe ; Chapter 4, pg 25).   But at the same time a man does not challenge his chi ."The evil you have done can ruin the whole clan. The Earth Goddess whom you have insulted may refuse to give us her increase, and we shall all perish" (Achebe; Chapter 4, pg 28).
 Ezeani said this to Okonkwo in response to his challenge against his chi. Through the story it is known that Okonkwo`s desperate desire to succeed his chi, does not let him go anyfurther than failure, destruction and death therefore, “Chi” is simultaneouslya destiny and an internal commitment which cannot be denied. Unlike any good religion, the Igbo religion encompasses some unaccepted practices that stunted the development of their village.
                    This was due to the Igbo fear of what they did not understand medicine, for instance.The belief in Ogbanje, which were wicked children who usually died at an early age, and who then re-entered their mother's womb to be born again. They believed that it was the evil spirit of the same child that just came in the form of many different infants. Then, there wasiyi-uwa which was a special kind of stone which formed the link between an ogbanje and the spirit world. If the child's iyi-uwa were found and destroyed, then it would not die. They believed that the ogbanjes would bury their iyi-uwa  in order for them to die and then return to their mother again in order to torment her. (Chapter 9)In addition, Umuofia villagers were overzealous in their practice of killing new-born twins and dumping them into the evil forest, where their spirits would roam forever. For the Igbo people, having twins was considered as "against nature and inherently evil.” Also, members of the tribe that died from certain diseases were looked as "un-clean” thus, they were not buried but rather dumped into the forest as well, as if their previous life had had no value at all.          
             It is seen that Achebe timelessly uses proverbs in these novels both to preserve Ibo culture and language as well as to show their value not only to him, but to the entire Ibo community.  Proverbs like  “When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk” (Achebe; Chapter 2, pg 10) , “A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing” (Achebe; Chapter 3, pg 19 ) , “An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb” (Achebe; Chapter 2 pg 19)   shows the beliefs of the Ibo people and the richness of values that existed in the society.                          As the novel progressed, the arrival of colonisers is seen through the image of Locusts in chapter 7, which descends in the village ,causing a devastating effect on the  crops.
 “Locusts are descending” was joyfully chanted everywhere, and men, women and children left their work or their play and ran into open to see the unfamiliar sight.” ( Achebe; Chapter 7 pg 50). This foreshadows the arrival of the colonisers who like the locusts are “the harbingers sent to survey the land”.  This establishes the theme of colonization. As the chapter moves on, it is seen that the Locusts “settles on every tree and on every blade of grass” breaking away the “Mighty tree branches”. The chapter is highly symbolic as it foresees the destruction brought about by the colonisers like the locusts.
                        The conversation between Okonkwo and Obierika  brings forth the first signs of  colonization come to Abame when the first white man appears. The elders of village consulted the Oracle and were told that the whiteman would soon be followed by others like him that would destroy their way of life. So the villagers killed the white man but destruction soon followed when other white men massacred the people of the village for killing the white man.
 Have you heard,” asked Obierika, “that Abame is no more?”
 “During the last planting season a white man had appeared in their clan….. The elders consulted their Oracle and it told them that the strange man would break their clan and spread destruction among them”   (Achebe; Chapter 15 pg 125)
 It is seen that the destruction was foreseen through the massacre of the people of Abame and through the words of the Oracle. “They were locusts, it said, and that first man was their harbinger sent to explore the terrain. And so they killed him”   (Achebe ;Chapter 7, pg 125) The symbol of the locuts can be compared with the tropical grasshoppers in chapter 7 which caused destruction. Likewise these colonists brought destruction along with them. The advent of colonization was seen through the process of instilling religion in chapter 16, by which they can change the fundamental beliefs of the tribe, then they can easily control the natives.
 “The arrival of the missionaries had caused a considerable stir in the village of Mbanta.”  The introduction of the European missionaries is not presented as a tragic event—it even contains some comical elements. The villagers, for example, mock the interpreter’s dialect. They neither perceive the missionaries as a threat nor react violently like the village of Abame, even though the missionaries call their gods “false” outright. And the missionaries do not forcibly thrust Christianity on the villagers.Considering the emphasis that the Igbo place on careful thought before violent action, Okonkwo’s belief that the people of Abame should have armed themselves and killed the white men reflects a rash, violent nature that seems to contradict with fundamental Igbo values. Throughout Things Fall ApartIgbo customs and social institutions emphasize the wisdom of seeking a peaceful solution to conflict before a violent solution. Uchendu voices this social value when he states that the killing of the first white man was foolish, for the villagers of Abame did not even know what the man’s intentions were. It is also seen that Nwoye, Okonkwo’s first son was spotted among the missionaries in Umoufia by Oberika.  Nwoye can be interpreted as the symbol for all disillusioned minds of the natives who are drawn between the nativity and Christianity.
 “It was not the Trinity that captivated him. He did not understand it. It was the poetry of the new religion, something felt in the marrow” (Achebe ;Chapter 16 pg 134) Achebe shows how the Cultural aspects such as hymns and songs also contributed significantly in the process of colonization.
Nwoye’s callow mind was greatly puzzled” ( Achebe; Chapter 16 pg 134)
                       With the introduction of a foreign element, which is the religion, it began to disrupt the social structure of the society. When the white men wanted a piece of land to build their shrine, a piece of land from the Evil Forest was given by the leaders of Mbanta expecting them to die in four days. When none of them died, the natives believed that the white men had the power to talk to the evil and hence they were impressed by the power of their religion. This lead to the conversion of Nneka, the first woman from the clan to be a part of the converts. It is also known that Nneka bore twins in all her four pregnancies was treated as an outcaste by the clan. In order to save her child, she joins the new religion. It is seen that certain  superstitious beliefs of the Ibo society like the killing of twins and improper burial for the diseased were harsher to accept and hence many efulefu – the unworthy accepted the paths of Christianity.
                             Initially, the church and the clan remain segregated from one another in Mbanta. The people of the village believe that eventually the Christians will weaken and die, especially since they live in the dreaded forest, where they even rescue twins abandoned in the woods. The outcasts of Mbanta, the osu, live in a special section of the village and are forbidden to marry a free person or cut their hair. They are to be buried in the Evil Forest when they die. When the osu see that the church welcomes twins into their congregation, they thought that they may also be welcomed. Most of the  osu become Christians, and the outcasts become the most dedicated members of the congregation. Okonkwo's views toward the Christians and his desire for a violent solution begin to separate him from the rest of his new Mbanta clan — which he thinks is a womanly clan. He feels that simply excluding the Christians from several public places is a weak solution.  Religion was used as a tool that divided and conquered the natives. Government was also brought by the colonisers alongside the school and religion.  “ But stories were already gaining ground that the white man had not only brought a religion but also a government” (Achebe; Chapter 18 pg 142)              With the establishment of a strong base in Africa, colonization began to take over the land, culture and tradition of the Ibo people.
 “Does the white man understand our custom about land?” “How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? 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 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.”This exchange occurs at the end of Chapter 20 during the conversation between Obierika and Okonkwo. In the discussion, which centers on various events that have come to pass since the arrival of the colonialists, Obierika seems to voice Achebe’s own thoughts on colonialism. Upset by the fact that the white men have come and completely disregarded the Igbo sense of justice, Obierika points out the impossibility of the colonialists understanding anything about the Umuofians without speaking their language. He points out the ludicrousness of denigrating unfamiliar customs.Yet, Obierika does not lay the blame wholly on the side of the white man. He feels also that the Umuofians who have converted to Christianity have consciously and wrongly turned their backs on their own “brothers.” This assessment complicates our understanding of the novel, as Achebe prevents us from seeing matters in clear-cut terms of good (black) versus bad (white). Indeed, Achebe elsewhere attempts to demonstrate the validity of some questions about Igbo culture and tradition. If religion and tradition are the threads that hold the clan together, and if that religion is flawed and that tradition vulnerable, it becomes hard to determine who is at fault for the resulting destruction. Certainly, Achebe does not blame the villagers. But, while this quotation displays his condemnation of the colonialists for their disrespect toward Ibo customs, it also shows his criticism of some clan members’ responses to the colonial presence.
                         Even before the white missionaries arrive in Umuofia, the Ibo already have their own judicial systems that are based on the knowledge that their forefathers have passed onto them about their culture. Their courts are spearheaded by the oldest men of the village, whose wisdom and knowledge is trusted in the power of their ancestral gods to guide them to give fair and unbiased ruling. However, one of the first things that the white missionaries do when they arrive in the village is to replace Igbo courts with theirs. This disadvantages the villagers as the white missionaries do not know the history of Igbo, their culture or their system of justice.
          The colonists appear to be so keen on forcing their own culture on the Ibo that they do not see that they are destroying Igbo culture and that they could learn from the Igbo to better understand them and their way of life.  This lack of consideration of the Igbo and their well-being from the Europeans further creates the drift that exists between the two cultures and drives them further apart from where they first started. It also raises the question of the intelligence of the white missionaries. How could a civilised and educated group of individuals who do not give themselves time to learn Igbo culture turn around and call Igbo uncivilised and uneducated? They certainly appear uncivilised and uneducated even though they claim to be. This is contradictory to the statements that they represent as the enlighteners of the village of Umuofia.
                  With the rise of trade, the community of Umuofia was  divided as not everyone in the village was against the colonisers since the white men have provided a new way for the villagers to profit.  With this opportunity they were even ready to accept the confines of the white man’s rule because they weren’t willing to sacrifice the new trading opportunity to fight for their independence. This shows how colonialism shakes the very base of society, altering and dislocating the views of the natives.
 “ The white man had indeed brought a lunatic religion, but he had also built a trading store and for the first time palm-oil and kernel became things of great price, and much money flowed into Umuofia.” (Achebe; Chapter 21 pg.161)
 As Gramsci says, hegemony was altered through the establishment of a strong civil society by the white men, imposing their religious and cultural values upon the Ibo people. Colonisation here occurs by altering the belief, customs and values through the establishment of schools, government and religion.  “New churches were established in the surrounding villages and a few schools with them.  From the very beginning religion and education went hand in hand. “ (Achebe; chapter 21 pg 164)
                   When Mr. Brown was succeeded by Reverend James Smith, he brought in the distinction of Black and White. Black was seen as evil. This progresses to the level where oppression and subjugation is faced by the native through the form of religion and education.  The leaders of the village including Okonkwo are imprisoned by the District Commissioner.  After their return they gather for a meeting where , the first speaker laments the damage that the white man and his church have done to the clan and bewails the desecration of the gods and ancestral spirits.
                         The  leader of the messenger of the white man orders the meeting to end. No sooner have the words left the messenger’s mouth,  Okonkwo kills him with two strokes of his machete. A tumult rises in the crowd, but not the kind for which Okonkwo hopes: the villagers allow the messengers to escape and bring the meeting to a conclusion. Someone even asks why Okonkwo killed the messenger. Understanding that his clan will not go to war, Okonkwo wipes his machete free of blood and departs. At the end of the novel, the whole village has come under the subjugation of the white man and unable to live under the oppression, Okonkwo takes his own life.  
                            The novel’s ending is dark and ironic. The District Commissioner is a pompous little man who thinks that he understands indigenous African cultures

 This sentence, which concludes the novel, satirizes the entire tradition of western ethnography and imperialism itself as a cultural project, and it suggests that the ethnographer in question, the District Commissioner, knows very little about his subject and projects a great deal of his European colonialist values onto it. . Achebe uses the commissioner, who seems a character straight out of Heart of Darkness, to demonstrate the inaccuracy of accounts of Africa such as Joseph Conrad’s. The commissioner’s misinterpretations and the degree to which they are based upon his own shortcomings are evident.
It is seen that the white man sees the death of Okonkwo as a interesting piece of news. “ The story of this man who had killed a messenger and hanged himself would make interesting read” (Achebe ;Chapter 25 pg 187)
                          On the other hand, colonialism has also had its negative and appalling effects by how the missionaries and the European officers have completely stripped the identity of the tribe and more than forced them to accept the new teachings while eradicating the tribe's previous teachings with the argument that such things were not true. It is not a matter of whether such traditions are true or not—what matters is that a person practices ethical customs that does not strip away the basic human right of anybody. Ironically, while colonialism wanted to put forth new knowledge on “true” faith and eradicating unlawful customs, the nature of forcing the Christian faith towards people who are reluctant to accept them can also be judged as an unlawful act.                        Achebe’s novel seeks at least in part to provide an answer to such inaccurate stereotypes. Okonkwo is by no means perfect. One can argue that his tragedy is of his own making. One can also argue that his chi is to blame. But as a societal tragedy, Things Fall Apart obviously places no blame on the Ibo people for the colonialism to which they were subjected. At the same time, the traditional customs of the villagers are not glorified—they are often questioned or criticized. Achebe’s re-creation of the complexity of Okonkwo’s and Umuofia’s situations lends a fairness to his writing. At the same time, his critique of colonialism and of colonial literary representations comes across loud and clear. Without culture Igbo society is as good as dead, hence the significance of Okonkwo’s death in the end. Like Okonkwo the Igbo committed suicide by not being suspicious of the white missionary’s intentions in their land or questioning his presence.      Works Cited : Primary Source :Achebe, Chinua. Things fall apart. Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, 2012. Print Secondary Source : 1. Ashcroft, Bill; Griffiths, Gareth, & Tiffin, Helen. The post-colonial studies reader. London: Taylor & Francis, 2003. Print.
 2.  Owomoyela, Oyekan. A history of twentieth-century African literatures. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, cop. 1993. Print. 3. Said, Edward W. Orientalism , New York: Vintage Books, 1979. 4. “Colonialism.” Oxford English dictionary (www.oed.com) Web. 13 August. 2014.  5. Yeats, Butler William. “The second coming.” (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172062) Web. 13 August  2014 6. Achebe, Chinua. "Chinua Achebe." Interview by Bradford Morrow. Conjunctions17 (Fall 1991). (http://www.conjunctions.com/archives/c17-ca.htm)Web. 28 August. 2014 7. Sickels, Amy. Critical insights: things fall apart (Kindle Edition). Critical Reception of Things Fall Apart. Salem Press. Web. 15 Jun. 2012.

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