Things Fall Apart

Changes made by the Europeans

When Europeans arrive in Okonkwo’s village, one result is a new kind of government and a new kind of law. How do the new legal and governmental practices and institutions differ from those that preceded them? Are the changes good, bad, or something more complicated, and why?

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Achebe spends his time developing the culture of the Igbo people and the characters that inhabit it. Once character and context is established, the white people are brought in. This provides an interesting juxtaposition to the entrenched rigid beliefs of Okonkwo and the Igbo people. The arrival of the white man casts a light on Igbo culture at its best, its worst and finally on its eventual disintegration. The European sense of justice tears apart the previous world of the Igbo which was so reliant on superstition and the natural world. THe erosion of their religious beliefs leads the Igbo to eventual collapse of identity. Still, there are aspects of European institution that help people. Nwoye is the sensitive and thoughtful son of Okonkwo. He is often humiliated by Okonkwo and others for being "girl-like" .He makes the switch to the Church where he is not humiliated on a daily basis.