Summary: Okonkwo Falls Apart

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Okonkwo Falls Apart
Chinua Achebe offers a rare look at the natives perspective during colonialism in his work Things Fall Apart. The central struggle in the main character Okonkwo is that he is beginning to lose his way of life, and he is not able to do anything about it. Conflicts in religious beliefs with the arrival of the missionaries heightens Okonkwo 's internal aggression, and his inability to adapt leads to his downfall.
Because the missionaries do not respect the Igbo religion, tension in villagers like Okonkwo increases. Once the white missionaries arrive in the village of Igbo they immediately start criticizing the natives religion. One missionary even told the people that “they worshipped false gods, gods of wood and stone.” completely
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When Okonkwo first returns back from his exile and hears the news of the white man in Umuofia, his anger increases that no one is trying to fight them. Even after his friend Obierika tells him about how the village Abame was destroyed by similar white missionaries Okonkwo simply thinks “Abame people were weak and foolish. Why did they not fight back...We would be cowards to compare ourselves to the men of Abame” (175). Okonkwo 's aggression blinds him to the dangers of rebelling against the white man, that he is willing to risk the destruction of his whole village just to satisfy his ideology of respecting his religion. As seen when Enoch rips off one of the masks of the tribesmen during an Igbo ritual, Okonkwo and some other angry village men go and seek revenge for the sacrilegious act. They burn down Enoch’s compound, but they also decided to seek vengeance against the church, because they blame it for the actions of its radical members. Okonkwo tells the new priest Mr. Smith “this shrine which [you] built must be destroyed. We shall no longer allow it in our midst. It has bred untold abominations and we have come to put an end to it.” (190). Okonkwo gets so frustrated with the white man 's new religion and how it is bringing “untold abominations” that he does an unspeakable act of burning down a religious building. Burning down buildings…show more content…
After the church is burned down Okonkwo is pleased that his fellow villagers are beginning to see the need for brutality against the foreigners through his eyes. “He had spoken violently to his clansmen when they had met in the marketplace to decide on their action. And they had listened to him with respect. It was like the good old days again, when a warrior was a warrior.” (192). Okonkwo hates change, and he feels that the missionaries have brought about change through their religion, which has started to affect other aspects of traditional Igbo life and its people. He feels that the men have gotten weaker, hence him feeling proud when the warriors start acting like warriors again in his mind when the village agrees some violent action must be taken against the white man. When the village crier announces that there will be a meeting to discuss what to do about the foreigners following Okonkwo and the other prisoners getting released, Okonkwo is very excited. However, once the meeting gets interrupted by court messengers during a speech about how the white man is desecrating their gods and ancestral spirits, things take a turn for the worst. As soon as the head messenger tells the crowd to disperse “Okonkwo drew his machete. The messenger crouched to avoid the blow but it was useless. Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay
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