Colonialist Criticism by Chinua Achebe

Topics: Igbo people, Colonialism, Things Fall Apart Pages: 3 (1159 words) Published: February 11, 2015

Achebe views colonialism as a destructive force which seeks to gentrify what it perceives as being a primitive people. Certain aspects of the igbo culture were becoming extinct through indoctrination of their people Achebe suggests that one effect of colonialism is that it views each one of the colonized as a tabula rasa, which in turn creates an confused pseudo-society . Aspects such as the tradition of the kola nut ritual. “As he broke the kola, Unoka prayed to their ancestors for life and health, and for protection against their enemies.” The kola nut tradition is a way of communicating respect and was not seen to be used later in the book. This is an example of Achebe subtly and silently bringing some important everyday rituals to an end in preparation and as a result of the colonialism of the white man. Within a decade a whole authentic culture was contrived into the ideal, the ideal of the metro pole. “Umofia had indeed changed during the seven years" Achebe uses obeirika to outline precisely what the effect of colonialism has done. “Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one.” Achebe has embedded a paraphrase of the title of the book on page 166. “He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” This shows that he means for it to sum up the book, his opinion is very clear here. The use of the word “knife” as obeirika is talking about the white man, is pivotal to image that Achebe wants to create for the reader as the white man is cutting away at the past of his people and that process causes the people to “fall apart” Achebe views the colonizers mind-set of viewing their interaction with the ibo as not an interaction between gods and men, but an interaction between gods and animals and their many faults as an un-civilised civilisation. “He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought.” The district commissioner had his own agenda to use Okonkwo’s story as part...
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