Things Fall Apart Quote Analysis

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According to Saturn Award nominee, Chadwick Boseman: “Colonialism is the cousin of slavery.” Chinua Achebe would agree with this quote, as he represents a similar idea of the negativity of colonialism through the characterization of Okonkwo. In Things Fall Apart, the author employs Okonkwo’s unwillingness to change to display that colonialism causes indigenous cultures to decline. Achebe demonstrates that Okonkwo finds Ibo culture to be an essential part of his life through his fear that he will not appear to be masculine. An excerpt that exhibits the extent of the distress is: “But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic,”…show more content…
The arrival of the missionaries led to a shift in lifestyle for Umuofia since most Umuofians began integrating European culture into an Ibo lifestyle. As aforementioned, Okonkwo found Ibo ideals to be important, so he was unenthusiastic about the change. In fact, he desired for the colonists to leave Umuofia: “Afraid? I do not care what he does to you. I despise him and those who listen to him. I shall fight alone if I choose,” (Achebe 186). The quote exhibits that Okonkwo did not want the British to interfere with tribal matters by introducing a new lifestyle. He preferred that people continued to hold the traditional culture to a high esteem. This is expanded upon when Okonkwo is willing to fight the British by himself with the knowledge that they had more advanced technology, so he could try to preserve his beliefs. Also, it would be a masculine act that his culture would praise. In the end, he makes the decision that the tribe would have praised before colonialism: “Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his unformed body,” (Achebe 189). Okonkwo murders the messenger because he believes that it could spark a war that could reinstall Ibo culture and kick out the Europeans. He is willing to do anything to try to protect his ideals, even if that requires him to kill a man. The violent act does nothing though, as it becomes evident that people have accepted the Western lifestyle against Okonkwo’s desire: “He knew that Umuofia that would not go to war. He knew because they let the other messengers escape,” (Achebe 189). If the population had not let the other messengers escape, then it would mean that they did not prefer to be Christians and preferred to have control over the land again, instead of the British government having control. That was not the case which means that they had accepted the newly introduced ideals
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