Colonialism And Conflicts In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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“If a Child Washes his Hands, he Could Sit with Kings”

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was written in 1958. In his novel, we learn how the main character Onkonkwo tackles the issues of colonialism and the challenges that arose through his lifetime. A proverb that best describes the goal Onkonkwo strived for his entire life is, “If a Child washes his Hands, he could sit with Kings.” (pg7). I understand this quote to reflect how the Umuofian community is. How they believe that you can remove the footprint of your fathers and ancestors and the reputation they had through your own impact on the society. Meaning you are seen as an individual and make your own reputation. As for Onkonkwo. His father was not a well-liked person in his village due to his lack of family responsibility and debt he was an ‘agbala’. It was not until Onkonkwo became a warrior did he get rid of his father’s reputation and was finally seen as a different person that endured different qualities than his father did. In this essay, I will argue how the impact of colonialism took away the values and social constructs that the Umofians fought and strived to achieve and how Onkonkwo was stripped of his pride and dignity that he worked so hard to achieve in his life.

The proverb I have decided to use tells us a story about the main character of the book, Onkonkwo’s life and how he went through a struggle of oppression. How the issue of the ‘white’ man trying to control traditional villagers and indoctrinate

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