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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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What is the title of the book the District Commissioner is writing in Things Fall Apart?

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The District Commissioner is a perfect representation of how the Western invasion of ill-managed Christianization and Western authority systems has rent, torn, the fabric of Ibo life, and the title of his book illustrates this. After a Christian covert violates Ibo law, as well as Christian law, of love and unity by crashing into the annual Ibo ceremony worshiping the Earth goddess and tearing the spirit masks from the tribesmen's heads (they danced as their religious spirits and gods in a sort of transubstantiation), the village rises up in violent reaction and burns the new Christian church, necessitating the presence of the District Commissioner to legislate tribal violence against Europeans. The tribesman who burned the church are jailed and whipped.

The unconverted tribe members joins together to mourn the injury to the gods and denounce the new religion, precipitating the appearance of forces to disperse the crowd. Okonkwo resists and decapitates one of the officials, an action that alienates him from hi tribe and endangers him before the authorities, who he eludes by committing suicide. It is at the end of this series of events that we learn the title and understand the significance, which is built upon mistaken notions, of the title of the Commissioner's book, in which he records these events: it is, The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.

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