Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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In Things Fall Apart, how does education advance Christianity among the Igbo people?

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Margarete Abshire eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Education and religion are linked from the very beginning. In chapter 21, the missionary Mr. Brown is determined to convert the Umuofia people to Christianity, but, in questioning them about their beliefs, he comes to the realization that he will not be able to convince them through argumentation. Instead, he builds a school and hospital, and uses the more practical arguments of better jobs and health as a way of spreading the faith. He also raises the importance of learning English. The school was very successful:

Mr. Brown's school produced quick results. A few months in it were enough to make one a court messenger or even a court clerk. Those who stayed longer became teachers, and from Umuofia labourers went forth into the Lord's vineyard.

In this way Christianity spread in Umuofia—not so much through a heightened spiritual awareness, but by recognizing that accepting the new religion was the price of gaining access to better services and higher status with the English.

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