Discuss in detail the role of Ideological State Apparatuses (ISA) in the dissemination of colonial ideology as presented in "Things Fall Apart".

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ideological state apparatuses are critical in disseminating colonial ideology in Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart. Ideological state apparatuses are technically non-state institutions that ultimately serve to enforce the power of the state and stability of law, order, and status quo society. Examples of these institutions include the church, media, school, the nuclear family, social clubs, social leaders, etc. In Things Fall Apart, the Igbo people of the village of Umuofia are subjected to British colonial ideological state apparatuses in the form of the Christian church, assimilated Igbo village leaders, and disruption of Igbo familial/social relations.

When Okonkwo is banished for seven years to his mother's village after he accidentally kills a young village member, he returns to his home village to find that the colonial British government has encroached upon his village. Colonial soldiers and missionaries are present in his village and a Christian church has been built. Because Okonkwo has not been present in the village for the past seven years, he does not understand that many of his fellow villagers have either assimilated into or acquiesced to the invading white, Christian culture. As such, when he and a small number of other Igbo villagers burns down the Christian church, he is not supported by his village at large and is thrown in jail. When he eventually kills a colonial messenger, he is again not supported. Many of the Igbo people of his village have been assimilated over the years through ideological state apparatuses along with the brute force of colonization. Realizing that he has lost his community to colonization and knowing that he can not accept living in this new reality, Okonkwo kills himself.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Illustration of a paper plane soaring out of a book

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial