In "Things Fall Apart", how is Okonkwo a catalyst for change against colonialism?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ironically, the death of Okonkwo brings back traditional Igbo customs, at least for a while. During his life, Okonkwo had fought against British colonialism and its religion. However, he could not stand up to it by himself and other in his tribe would not join him in his fight. In total frustration, Okonkwo hangs himself. In Igbo tradition, suicide is an "abomination". Obierika tells the district commissioner that none of the Igbo will be able to take down Okonkwo's body the bury it because the body is now considered evil. The tribe will have to perform traditional sacrifices to cleanse the land of this horrible sin.  "As Obierika gazes at his friend’s dangling body, he bitterly says that Okonkwo was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. The white man drove him to kill himself, and now he will be buried like a dog." Thus, in death, Okonkwo brings back the traditional practices of his people and they return to their traditional beliefs to deal with his death and they realize what the white man has done to their tribe.