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One of the dominant themes addressed in Achebes novel Things Fall Apart is definitely the issue of culture clash, with the Ibo cultural practices clashing with the European way of life. The Ibo community of West Africa and has its own unique ways of life, customs, perspectives,…
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Download file to see previous pages The cultural clash in the novel is seen both at the individual level and at the communal level; at the communal level, the cultural values and traditions of the Ibo people such as their traditional system of governance and ritual rights are greatly undermined by the arrival of the Europeans.
The annual ceremony in honour of the earth deity among the Ibo people, when the clan’s ancestors that had been “committed to Mother Earth at their death (Achebe 186)” would emerge as “egwugwu” from tiny ant-holes is one of the Ibo’s sacred rituals that was challenged by Christianity. Okonkwo, Achebe’s most tragic character, clearly demonstrates the cultural clash at the individual level, when he out rightly resists the new political and religious order introduced by the Europeans because he perceived them not to be manly enough for the Ibo people. The Ibo culture places high regard on personal achievement and masculinity, attributes which were greatly opposed to the Christian values of equality of all people, irrespective of their gender and personal achievements. Achebe’s famous opening line “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond” clearly explains Okonkwo’s fame which, in Achebe’s words, “rested on solid personal achievements” (Achebe 1). Okonkwo’s self-worth comes under great attack by the introduction of the new religious and political order by the Europeans, particularly because his identity was greatly pegged on the Ibo cultural standard. The Europeans’ misconceptions of the Ibo people are clearly expressed through Reverend Smith’s criticisms of the Africans.
Unlike his predecessor Mr. Brown, Reverend Smith openly condemns the African cultural traditions and values by terming them barbaric and heathen; he has no desire to tolerate and accommodate the African rituals and cultural practices. Mr. Brown ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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