Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 16 Summary and Analysis

When Obierika visits Okonkwo again two years later, he brings sad news: that missionaries have built their churches in Umuofia and begun turning people against their brothers. Consequently, the village has been weakened, and Nwoye, Okonkwo's son, has joined the Christians, finding in their religion the solace he needed after the death of Ikemefuna. He'd joined the church when the missionaries came to Mbanta, preaching that the Igbo gods were just wood and stone and that the true God had made them all and loved them all. Most of the villagers thought the white men mad and didn't take them seriously, but Nwoye was drawn to their preachings and disowned his father because of them.


Chielo uses metaphor when she refers to the Igbo converts as "the excrement of the clan" and to Christianity as "a mad dog that had come to eat [the excrement] up."


Music. Music has always been important to the Igbo, and throughout the course of the novel we've heard many of their songs, both new and traditional. In this chapter, the Christian hymns pluck at some "silent and dusty chords" in a man's heart, reinforcing the idea that music is primarily a religious experience. It's used to foster a feeling of fellowship and joy in the community and thus becomes a powerful tool for the new Christian church, which seeks followers.


Communication. In Chapter 15 , communication (or, rather, the lack of it) played an important role in the death of a white man in Abame. In this chapter, the white man's African translator has trouble talking to the people of Mbanta because he keeps referring to...

(The entire section is 408 words.)