2) Introduction to World Literature: Things Fall Apart Video Question

1. Video

Link to the Things Fall Apart Documentary

2. Script of Video

3. Was the arrival of Europeans in Umuofia more positive or more negative for the Igbo people?

The book “Things Fall Apart” written by Chinua Achebe deals with the lives of the Igbo people in Nigeria and the effects that European imperialism or colonialism had on them. The book revolves around the main character Okonkwo and his struggles in trying to keep his Umuofian ways and Igbo cultures from being changed by the european colonialists. Even though that some might think that the Europeans had a positive effect on the Igbo people, I believe that the arrival of Europeans in Umuofia had more of a negative effect and this can be identified in various parts of the story.

One of the parts that this can be seen is when the Umuofians are told that there gods are not real and that there is only one god. This was one of the parts of the story that touched me very much and shocked me. It wasn’t only me who was shocked. Anthony Appiah the Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University mentions this as well:

“The first time I talked to Chinua Achebe which was, I don’t know, a quarter of a century ago or more. I remember one of thethings that he said that struck me very much. He said, ‘My ancestors would never have gone 5,000 miles in order to persuade somebody that they were wrong about the gods.’ Right? That’s just not how people were in these traditional places. For one thing, they lived in places where there were local gods. So people around the corner you knew had different gods. And you knew that there were these people to the north of you, who were Muslims. You knew that they were there, and you knew that they believed different things from what you believed. And you just sort of accepted it, as part of how the world was, that different people related to different spiritual agencies”
Appiah hints that the natives are the ones who were sacrificed and had to believe a religion that they were forced in to. This can be seen in the novel “Things fall Apart” as well. When the white missionaries come they say that “He told them that they worshipped false gods, gods of wood and stone… He told them that the true god lived on high and that all men when they died went before Him for judgement” (Achebe 145). The white missionary also said that “”We have been sent by this great God to ask you to leave your wicked ways and false gods and turn to Him so that you may be saved when you die,” he said” (Achebe 145). The white missionary doesn’t explain why they aren’t real and just implies it on them. Later because of these missionaries, the Igbo society is torn apart and loses their culture and even their way of life and their religion.
Because they have lost their way of life an their religion. I believe that the arrival of Europeans in Umuofia had more of a negative effect on the Igbo people.

4. Works Cited