Things Fall Apart Essay

991 WordsFeb 11, 20134 Pages
Things Fall Apart Religion, family and social structure are three important components of any culture, and when they are undermined, the culture is lost. By breaking the bonds of kinship and clan loyalty, as well as attacking the religious and social structures, the white settlers were able to unravel the culture of the Umuofian clans in the novel Things Fall Apart. The arrival of the white men, and the spreading of their religion, divided the loyalties of the Umuofian clans by undermining the Igbo tribal religions, ancestral reverence, and the form of governance, which was accomplished through the use of Western religious doctrine and education. “From the very beginning religion and education went hand in hand“.[1] In order to understand what fell apart for the Igbo culture, it is first important for us to understand the pre-colonial culture of the Igbo. The Igbo people of the Lower Niger region of Africa distinguished themselves by clan group. Clans were important because they held many villages together as one. People would gather on the ilo, or village green, for sacred ceremonies and for festivals. As for religion, the Igbo revered their ancestors, and they consulted oracles for guidance and insight. “The land of the living was not far removed from the domain of the ancestors. There was coming and going between them…”.[2] Additionally, the Umuofian society often used animal references in stories to naturalize their rituals and beliefs. Though the Europeans view these stories as preposterous, the Igbo people view them as logical explanations for natural phenomena. The arrival of the white colonists and their religion weakened these kinship bonds so central to the Igbo culture. They established churches, which began to attack the beliefs of the Igbo, undermining their gods and ancestors, and thus effectively separating the clan as the people felt

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