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Things Change

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The book Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe tells the story about a native living in Africa during the period of European imperialism. By placing the book during this time period Achebe can first explain traditional Ibo culture and then talk about the effect that the white European evangelists had on Ibo society. The book dispels the commonly held view of Africans before colonization as savage and godless beings. Achebe explains the very advanced social order in Umuofia and the complex Ibo religion. In bringing together what I have learned about Europe and Africa during the time of Imperialism I will draw a comparison between the two continents politically, religiously, and economically.

Europe was ruled by a set of very powerful and competing monarchs during the time of imperialism. In these monarchies a king and queen had supreme power over their countries. In Umuofia there was a democratic system of government with no one ruler and a complex system by which people could gain political power through economic success. I think it is very ironic that when the white missionaries came they lectured the natives on how everyone was equal in the eyes of God, but yet they had supreme rulers in their own countries and a very unfair social caste system.

Contrary to popular belief the Africans had a very complex religion before Christianity came. Everyone in the community was extremely religious, even obeying their religious leaders when they were told to kill their own children who were thought to be purveyors of communal misfortune. This seems very barbaric to us but their religion was strictly adhered to for what to them were completely rational reason. There were a collection of gods for different occurrences in nature and life, such as rain and fertility. Overall the religion was adapted to a suit the agrarian-based tribal society. The Ibo religion contained a lot of superstition and strange rituals, which I think made its followers more vulnerable to Christian influence. The Europeans built their church on land that was supposed to be cursed, but when nothing happened to them a few people started to question their current beliefs. Overall, I think the main reason that the village and so many others all converted to Christianity was due primarily to social and economic pressures



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