How did Chinua Achebe condemn colonization in Things Fall Apart?how and why and in which category?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Achebe's depiction of life in the village after colonization helps to create a setting that condemns colonization.  When Okonkwo returns to the village, he sees the traditional values completely replaced by more modern ones that have been enhanced through the presence and substantiation of colonialism.  Where honor has been replaced by material wealth and collectivity with individualism, this becomes a stinging indictment of how colonialism has sought to change the fabric of indigenous values and how this is not necessarily a good thing. At the same time, the force with which Christian values were imposed on indigenous people is also shown through a negative light.  The imposition of Western ideals in supplanting traditional notions of the good is not depicted as an overall positive trend in the novel.

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Achebe's Things Fall Apart is a critique of the imperialistic colonization of Africa. Throughout the novel, the western world is portrayed as arrogant, self-serving, and ethnocentric. The imperialists treat Africa and her inhabitants as items to be conquered and commandeered for their own uses and abuses.

Like many great works of the western world, however, Things Fall Apart is a story in the tradition of Greek tragedy and the main character, Okonkwo, is most certainly a tragic hero. His great weakness—that others will see or perceive weakness of any kind in him—drives him to make rash decisions in order please the imperialists. The great irony, however, is that in doing so he alienates himself from his own people and is never truly respected by the imperialists.

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