Things Fall Apart Essay

Posted: November 22, 2008 in Atheism, Culture, Dark, Death, Essay, Life, Nature, Religion

I thought this was somewhat entertaining, and I have nothing else to post, so…

In Things Fall Apart, the central conflict is between the Ibo tribe and the Christian missionaries intruding on their land. Okonkwo naturally has a problem with these missionaries, as they infringe upon his life and interfere with his people’s customs. The Christian problem can be broken down into several issues in the book indicating their relationship with Okonkwo and his people. They can be compared to the allegory of the locusts, they represent a change in tradition, and they ultimately affect the lives of Okonkwo and his tribe profoundly.
The locusts are viewed by the Ibo as something non-threatening and quite tasty; however, in a general literary sense, locusts are typically associated with the consumption of valuable crops (see The Bible, by GOD). Nevertheless, the locusts are cheerfully eaten by the Ibo without much regard for the insect’s future residency. This is somewhat like the way the Christians were able to insinuate themselves into the Ibo culture without their true colors and ultimate goal being revealed. As the Christians sink themselves deeper into the Ibo culture, various changes are soon made to rock the core of Ibo tradition.
The Christians were actually able to change the Ibo’s long-standing culture over a few years, a feat that George W. Bush would be envious of. By establishing their religion with an accepting and benevolent God, they were able to attract outcasts and those who craved freedom from cultural restraints with ease, much like a politician securing a minority vote. They were also able to establish themselves as a somewhat mystical or blessed organization when they built their church in the evil forest, which did not harm them as was believed it would. This ease of entrenchment into the culture also has the effect of completely changing the lives of Okonkwo and his fellow tribesmen.
Okonkwo is immediately suspicious of the Christian’s intentions and makes this clear. He expects, upon return from his exile, to lead his tribe into war or at least aid in such conflict, but this is not the case. When he returns after seven years, his village has changed immensely, with Christian influence extended over a good portion of the citizens. When Okonkwo realizes that the Christians have won and that there will be no war, he kills himself in shame, a terrible sin in the Ibo. This shows that the Christians have crossed the border of the Ibo’s breaking point; by driving one of their strongest men to kill himself, the Christians have truly broken the Ibo’s spirit.
Things Fall Apart is a study into the way cultures can be affected by outside influence. It also proves that most Christians are arrogant and intolerable buffoons (except the Irish) who seek constantly to impose their philosophy on the lives of others with no thought to any loss of consequence, content to relegate an entire rich civilization to a mere chapter in a textbook.

  1. larkie says:

    except for the hot irish twins, you mean

    they do cool things like wearing crosses and kissing jesus’s bronzed feet and beating the shit out of mobsters


  2. larkie says:

    also, don’t you think it’d be a stronger essay if, rather than writing from the perspective of “hurr christians suxx0rs”, you said that it’s about the conflict of cultures who don’t understand each other? the christians genuinely thought they were being the good guys with their civilizing mission. it’d be much more perceptive if you didn’t use the weird reference to GWB [which frankly is irritating to no end], the reference to Irishmen that no one will understand, and ditch the over-exaggerated language? [seriously, categorizing them all as buffoons is insane. such a huge portion of the world is christian, and has been for such a long time, that some of our greatest inventors and artists were religious.]

    I understand you scorn religion, Christianity especially. I do too. but a piece like this seriously just makes atheists seem like pretentious douchewhores. you may be in the more logical, intellectual side of the debate. but that doesn’t mean you win automatically with generalizations and lofty prose and SAT vocabulary. you have to be perceptive and present us with both sides of the conflict. rather than “oh poor Ibo, oppressed by the Christians!!” I mean, you ARE aware that the Ibo also possessed a religion, correct? if you’re really going for the militant atheism route, you can’t scorn one religion above the others.

  3. scriken says:

    kayla, i just wrote this for the hell of it. i don’t particularly care an ounce about either culture nor this damned book. and the christians are presented pretty unfavorably in the book itself, which was what i was writing from, to tell you the truth.
    thanks for the opinion though.

  4. carole cromwell paddock says:

    She’s got a point about all Christians being buffoons. “All” or “none” for that matter, usually doesn’t work for much. Isn’t it too weird to have your mother here? XX

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