Details about culture clash in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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The first mention of the white men in Things Fall Apart comes when Obierika (who has never seen one) describes them as being as white as chalk and having no toes (a legend which presumably arose because white men were seen wearing shoes). This prepares the reader for the many misunderstandings between the two cultures which will follow.

A misunderstanding does not necessarily entail a clash. The first actual interaction with white men that is described, however, is certainly a clash, since it begins with a white man being killed and ends with an entire community, Abame, being wiped out. This awakes in Obierika the ancestral memory of slavery, which he had thought was only a story.

Towards the end of the novel, it is the missionaries and their converts who create most of the cultural conflict with Umuofia and its traditional way of life. The leading members of the community do not take the white man’s god seriously, because of the low quality of worshippers he attracts:

None of his converts...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1285 words.)

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For more information on Achebe and his life, check out this interview: