Relationship Between Western Imperialism and the Third World in the Novel Things Fall Apart
Throughout history, countries have attempted to spread their influence by establishing colonies. During the nineteenth century, many European countries began attempting to colonize Africa. These colonies did not fare too well. Africa was left in a state of devastation and it’s people’s societies in shambles. Millions of people disapprove of Europe’s imperialistic nature and the negative effects it caused in Africa. As a result of this great disapproval, many books have been written, many movies have been filmed, and still more songs have been composed. One such example of a literary critique of effect of Western Imperialism in the “Third World” is the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinau Achebe.
One example is of the effect is how the church begins to change the village. One example of this is that how the village becomes less violent over time. When the novella begins, the village has a violent culture, most noticeable by how revered the great warrior Okonkwo is.. He is one of the most respected people in the town, which is unlikely for his age. This respect was earned in the field of combat. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Unuoka, Okonkwo’s peace loving father, is not respected at all. While this can be attributed to his lazy and leeching nature, it is not so hard to assume that some of this lack of respect stems from his peaceful nature. After the Christians begin to change the village, the respect Umuofia has towards a violent lifestyle begins to diminish. This is evidenced by the fact that Umuofia has no violent interactions with other villages after the Christians come to Umuofia.
Another negative effect was of the government. The Christians brought their government along with them. This government gave fewer rights to the natives. Essentially, the natives allowed Christians to stay there, the Christians brought their government, and their government began mistreating the natives. This treatment is the predecessor to apartheid. Western Imperialism brought apartheid and encouraged other racism within Africa. The government also destroyed the native command system. The government caused immeasurable damage to the previously undisturbed society of the Igbo.
The novella Things Fall Apart can be considered a critique of the negative effect that Western Imperialism had on the “Third World.” Many of the situations in the novella describe situations that occurred in Africa in the nineteenth century. These negative effects parallel the ones in real life. This novella describes simply how devastating the effect of Western Imperialism had on the “Third World.”
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