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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe
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How did Mr. Smith's followers in Things Fall Apart show their belief and worship?

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It is in Chapter 22 that Mr Smith begins his posting in Okonkwo's village, taking over from the much more moderate Mr Brown. The narrator makes it clear that Mr Smith was far more zealous and radical than Mr Brown had been, and that the followers of this new faith who found Mr Brown's policy of gentle acceptance annoying were able to be far more radical under Mr Smith's rule:

Mr Smith danced a furious step and so the drums went mad. The over-zealous converts who had smarted under Mr Brown's restraining hand now flourished to full favour.

One of these converts was Enoch, who in protest against the old faith that he abandoned for Christianity, unmasked an egwugwu, a spiritual being believed to be the resurrected forms of clan ancestors. This was a major taboo for the tribe and so created a massive conflict between the Christians and the indigenous tribesmen who still believed in their animistic religion. What is clear above all is that the Christians under Mr Smith were able to show their belief and worship and far more radical ways than they had been permitted to under Mr Brown, and this brought the new Christians into conflict with the tribesmen very swiftly.

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