Theme Of Imperialism In Things Fall Apart

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H.L. Mencken said “The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear- fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.” The men and women of Africa during the imperialist time felt this fear constantly. Their lives were ever-changing, not because of a lack of civilization, because the white men were taking their lives over. In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the tribal members are confused by the triumph of the white missionaries in their country and are fearful not of what they offer, but what they do not yet understand. The people of the African tribes were naïve of the white man’s true intentions with their land. The white men seemed disinterested in tribal affairs upon their arrival, and the “clan had assumed that [they] would not survive” (Line 1 Achebe). Although, it is these thoughts that foreshadow the eventual demise of the tribal members, and even greater, the whole of African freedom. The rest of the book from this point forward slowly led to the overtaking of the white men and the misunderstanding of the African tribes. Okonkwo’s suicide is a symbol for how clan had killed itself from the inside. Members of the tribe did not believe they would be punished for the missionaries’ sins, allowing them to relax. However, the relaxed…show more content…
Their inability to make choices on their own, and their fear of their surroundings caused them to look elsewhere for explanation if they did not agree with what their own religion believed. However, the Christian missionaries in Things Fall Apart is a symbol for the entire imperialist movement into Africa, and because the Africans were not able to understand what was going on, they feared the white man’s power. This passage in the novel represents the theme of unknown fear, and gives insight on the ending of the book and the downfall of African civilization as they knew
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