Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Things Fall Apart (Coming of White Men)
Thing Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Discuss how the coming of the White men makes Umuofia Ã¢â¬Å"fall apartÃ¢â¬ . Make reference to the religious, economic, political and social impact of the British culture on the traditions of the clan. As the novel opens, we get to know Umuofia, one of IgboÃ¢â¬â¢s nine villages, as an organized but somehow different civilization. Chinua Achebe portrays life in this village as rough and harsh, conveying to the readers that only brave men would succeed in it. As said before, even though these civilizations are stereotyped and seen as primitive, we can clearly see that their lives are completely balanced between faith and order.It is actually astonishing to see how such a different way of life, to what we think and see as the normal life, may be as much or even more organized than ours. Even though both civilization are completely organized and function perfectly well, they could never live together in harmony. One would end up consuming the other as they were not meant to coexist. We may think we are educating and helping Ã¢â¬Å"uncivilized menÃ¢â¬ , but we are actually disintegrating their beliefs, their organization, their politics and their language. We are not aiding them, but destroying their religion and their society.We are, in other words, banishing their culture. A culture that will be lost forever. Hence, we may say, that in many ways the coming of White men made Umuofia Ã¢â¬Å"fall apartÃ¢â¬ . To begin with, the coming of the white men made Umuofia fell apart as their religion was greatly affected. The village of Umuofia was sustained by their beliefs and their gods, who criticized and punished the lazy men and those who were not worthy of worshipping them. Therefore the coming of a new monotheist and more peaceful religion brought huge changes in some of UmuofiaÃ¢â¬â¢s most important traditions.These white men questioned most of UmuofiaÃ¢â¬â¢s beliefs such as the dangers that inhabited the evil forest by set ting their livings there. This first action brought great controversy in the clan as people thought that whoever stayed in the forest for a certain period of time would painfully die. The resistance these white men showed to that Ã¢â¬Å"evil forceÃ¢â¬ led many people to get interested in the new religion. People suddenly began questioning their own beliefs and traditions, questioning why they should venerate gods who were bound to punish, and not one God who was merciful towards humanity.The village divided in to those who remained steadfast to their traditions, and those who began to adopt the new ones. Society completely turned over after these events. Those who turned into Christianity were seen as the elite of the society. The clan was getting weaker and weaker every day, as more and more people turned into Christianity. The time soon come that the clansmen had not enough forces to control the missionaries. They should have reacted before, but only the exiled Okonkwo was brav e enough to face the white men.Hence, we may conclude that the imposition of a new religion severely damaged the village by, splitting it in two, reducing their forces and their willing to fight, and proving most of their beliefs false. Summarizing this, it massively weakened the most powerful and feared clan of the nine villages. Economically, Umuofia was also affected by the arrival of white men. Hitherto, Umuofia had presented us a hierarchical society, were men who showed to be brave, hard workers and strong enough, occupied the highest places in society, while lazy and unmanly men were found at the bottom of the pyramid.Since, the missionaries arrived, things turned around, the lazy and humble men who decided to accept and worship the new god began to get richer and richer, while the hard worker farmers were left behind. Money began circulating in the tribe but only those who turned into Christianity had it. Hence, no one interested in trading, and so, farmers were getting poor er every day. We may say that Umuofia was not destroyed economically but it was greatly affected, some suffered a lot of it, but some others were benefited by these changes. The arrival of the white men also led to massive changes in the villageÃ¢â¬â¢s politics.They subjected the villagers to their own judicial system and rules, imposing an extremely different and harsh government over them. As white men didnÃ¢â¬â¢t respect nor understand the clanÃ¢â¬â¢s customs, many men were punished for following their Ã¢â¬Å"uncivilizedÃ¢â¬ traditions. In chapter twenty one Okonkwo discusses with Obierika about Aneto, who was recently hanged by the government after he killed a man with whom he had a dispute. Clearly the new ruling system didnÃ¢â¬â¢t take into account old customs. It is completely correct actually, to punish a murderer, or any kind of criminal, but by doing so we are destroying their customs and their traditions.When Enoch unmasked an Egwugwu, considered to be the high est possible crime in Umuofia, the church did nothing, as again, they didnÃ¢â¬â¢t respect their customs. Unmasking an Egwugwu in Umuofia is as much or even more harsh than killing a man is for the white men, it can only be compared with killing a god. Once again, the new government doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t punish this event. This is a great example of how, Umuofia was left weak and subjected to the white men ruling. We can see now, that they are not trying to make Umuofia a more civilized village, but a more British one.Hence we may conclude that by imposing a new government who ignores their customs, the coming of the white men are making Umuofia fall apart. Finally, culturally Umuofia also fell apart thanks to the arrival of the white man. The new comers introduced a school, which taught their own rules, their beliefs, and their culture. They educated younger villagers that way, so that they could later control them more easily. They were kind of brain washed to believe and trust whatever they do. Education is not bad, of course, but they were not educating them to be better and more intelligent villagers, they were educating them to be other persons.They changed their minds. Young boys were dragged out of farming into the school. In other words, they were dragged out of their lives, from whom they really are. Another cultural change imposed by the white men were hospitals, we canÃ¢â¬â¢t say thatÃ¢â¬â¢s something bad, but that is not how Umuofia is. When we say that it Ã¢â¬Å"fell apartÃ¢â¬ , we are not actually saying that everything went wrong for them, that all changes were bad. Some, like the introduction of hospitals in the tribe, were actually a massive improvement.Indeed, some of the politics imposed do try to make Umuofia a Ã¢â¬Å"saferÃ¢â¬ place, where killing is punished, and leaving twins in the forest to die is seen as an abomination. ThatÃ¢â¬â¢s perfectly fine, they may be improving in some ways their lives, but the culture, the old tradition s, their beliefs, everything was lost. Everything Umuofia was, suddenly banished. Everything it represented, their gods, their traditions, and their culture were destroyed. Nobody left to defend their customs, nobody left to respect them. Only memories were left of Okonkwo, Umuofia and their old lives. Everything Umuofia wasÃ¢â¬ ¦ fell apart.