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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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How did Nwoye's conversion to Christianity change him in Things Fall Apart?

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Nwoye initially tries to keep his interest in Christianity secret from his father Okonkwo. The son has always find it difficult to fit in the tribal traditions that mean so much to his father and his conversion is an act of rebellion against his authority. Nwoye sees Christianity as less violent and patriarchal than Igbo society and less obsessed by standards of masculinity. He finds himself more at home in his adoptive religious faith than in the religious beliefs of his own tradition. Yet, in the subsequent novel No Longer at Ease, the character is shown as constantly caught in the dilemma of being a Christian but of having to spend most of his existence within a community of people who still subscribe to traditional beliefs. Nwoye, or Isaac as he chooses to be called after his convertion to signify his unwillingness to sacrifice his identity to his father, considers them heathens. His condition is similar to that described in the epigraph to the novel No Longer at Ease, the last lines of T.S. Eliot's "The Journey of the Magi":

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

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