God's Fall Apart

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JOURNAL OF ENGLISH STUDIES - VOLUME 5-6 (2005-2008), 105-117 GOD(S) FALL(S) APART: CHRISTIANITY IN CHINUA ACHEBE’S THINGS FALL APART1 ENRIQUE GALVÁN AND FERNANDO GALVÁN University of Alcalá ABSTRACT. This paper studies the confrontation between Christianity and the Igbo religion in Chinua Achebe’s first novel in the context of colonialist appropriation. An analysis of the techniques used by the Christian missionaries to infiltrate the fictional world of Umuofia is complemented with a discussion of the main characters of the novel in their relation to religion and their roles as facilitators or opponents of the colonization process. Gender issues are also briefly dealt with as Christianity is seen as “effeminate” by the natives and some female Igbo characters. Achebe has suffered the misfortune of being taken for granted: the intricate and deep structures that inform his narratives are rarely examined, except on an elementary introductory level, and the ideologies that inform his narratives and his theoretical reflections rarely seem to have the influence one would expect from Africa’s leading novelist. Clearly, Achebe has been a victim of that kind of “first” reading which Roland Barthes condemned as the consumption of the text, a reading which erases the problematics of the text and its contradictory meanings in its quest for the artifice of continuity. (Gikandi 1991: 2) Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) narrates the final collapse of Umuofia, an Igbo nation in present day Nigeria, due to the arrival of the white man in the 1. This essay has been written as part of the Research Projects funded by the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, codes HUM2004-02413/FILO and HUM2007-63028. Acknowledgements are due to Dr José Santiago Fernández Vázquez, Dr Jonathan P. A. Sell and two anonymous referees for a first reading and suggestions on this
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