Colonialism in "Things Fall Apart"

In Things fall Apart, Chinua Achebe tackles the subject of colonialism fairly and firmly. From the novel, it is visibly clear how colonialism affected people and how it succeeded in pulling the people in different directions. Colonialism succeeded in destroying family relationships, friendships and also made tribes fight against themselves. Even though the novel is a fictional book, there is the clear truth on how colonialism has affected people to the level where the life of the affected becomes destroyed and results into his own death.

The novel can be seen as a one way narrative on the life and events of a single member of a tribe in Africa, but on a wider view, it represents the collective life of the African people at a time when outsiders are trying to change the traditional practices carried out by the people. Okonkwo is the main character and we are shown the different struggles in regard to his tribe and also the changing times. Oknokwo is known as a talented farm from Umuofia clan, and also recognized for having good and appreciated traits.

Nevertheless, he has a difficult time as he tries to stop himself from becoming like his father, while at the same time trying to keep up with the culture and traditions practiced by his people. Okonkwo, in the end, realizes that he cannot keep up with the new developments that the English colonizers are trying to instill in his people. The developments include a new religion, and other modern practices. He takes his own life while his people embrace the new developments brought about by the white man.

Though colonialism can be viewed as a bad thing that has completely destroyed the traditions and culture of community, it can also be seen as having good effects since it helped remove the cultural violence that was practiced. This included acts like punishment for crimes, and ritual sacrifices that were viewed normal by the communities but were seen as inhumane by the missionaries.

In conclusion, there are different sides of how colonialism can affect people as seen from the novel. Economically and socially, colonialism brought with it increased opportunities given to the people. This made them more prosperous and opened avenues for people to make more profits. In terms of religion, culture and traditional practices, colonialism completely changed the people’s practices, which in turn led to other people rebelling. It is, nevertheless, important not to lose one’s sense of identity in the process of change and still maintain the culture and traditions while embracing modernity.

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