What is the significance of religion in "Anthills of the Savanna"? How does Achebe treats religion as an African novelist?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Achebe handles both Western and African religion in this novel.  The character of Beatrice represents an African goddess, and is very connected to the mythic traditions of the people of Kangan.  This is shown in the naming ceremony that ends the novel, showing faith in the future of the country.  The character of Agatha represents Western religion.  She is devoutly Christian, attending church regularly and passing judgement on Beatrice's relationship with Chris because it violates Christian doctrine.  Although Beatrice is often frustrated with Agatha, she does have sympathy for her house girl.  Beatrice does respect Agatha's faith, even if she disagrees with her teachings.

Through the use of these two characters, Achebe shows a strong theme of personal faith.  He treats faith as being a positive influence in the lives of the people.  However, organized religion - like organized government - is suspectible to the flaws of man, and can be misused and abused.  As he does throughout the novel, Achebe uses faith/religion as a way to reinforce the spirit and power of people.

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Anthills of the Savannah

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