In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, what role do the outcasts play in bringing Christianity to the Ibolands ?

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litlady33 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The outcasts, also called Osu by the Igbo people,  were some of the first to convert to Christianity upon the arrival of the missionaries. Achebe describes and Ibo outcast as a person who lived “in a special area of the village” and “carried with him the mark of his forbidden caste-- long, tangled and dirty hair” (156). These are people who are so shunned by the Igbo community that they could not take part in any of the ceremonies, take a title, or even be buried with everyone else. They are shunned in all ways. Therefore, when the Christians come saying that they will accept all people regardless of their differences, the idea of finally being accepted appeals to the outcasts. When some of the earlier converts protest this acceptance of the outcasts, Mr. Kiaga, the church leader, stays firm, saying “‘He needs Christ more than you and I” (156). Achebe then says that it is Mr. Kiaga’s strong stance on accepting the outcasts that “saved the young church” (157). When the converts saw how strongly Mr. Kiaga believed that Christianity could save even the lowliest members of the Igbo village, it proved to be the example of strong faith that the newest members needed. Further, the outcasts themselves became some of the “strongest adherents of the new faith” (157) because, possibly, they had undergone the greatest transformation to become a part of this new religion.

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Things Fall Apart

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