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Monrada Teewunda (DD)

English 1209
Ms.Laurin Werner
December 3, 2018
The Differences and Perspective of the White and African in Culture from ​Things Fall Apart

A book,​ Things Fall Apart​, is written by African author, Chinua Achebe. It is published

in 1958 and it is the era that people do not know much about the other religion, culture, and

tradition. The white people know about Africa from the people who has an experience, so they

only know the story of Africa in one side. Those authors mostly describe Africa in a negative

way because it can attract the people. In ​Things Fall Apart​, Achebe has the inspiration from the

colonization. He writes since the starting point of the white come to Africa and spread their

religion, Christianity. In ​Things Fall Apart​, Chinua Achebe emphasizes how the white build their

culture as supreme by using negative perspectives, racial differences, and different positions to

disdain Igbo culture.

The perspective of the white to African people is very obvious. They look down to the

color and it happens for the long time. It is from ​Things Fall Apart​ that is published in 1958,

“one of them was that a District Commissioner must never attend to such undignified details …

the title of the book, after much thought: ​The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower

Niger​” (Achebe, p. 209). He is the white who has the experiences in Africa. From his thought, he

thinks African is strange from him. The title of his book is shown that the information include

the negative things. So, it shows that they look down on the African for the long time. Wainaina

(n.d.) contends, “make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls,

and eat things no other humans eat” (p. 1). The books that they write about Africa almost based

on bias and opinion. Most of authors include many negative words and focus about the negative

events or very weird events. They try to write about something that very weird and avoid the
Monrada Teewunda (DD)
English 1209
Ms.Laurin Werner
December 3, 2018
normal things that happen in Africa. From the interview of Achebe in 2000, this is how he

responds to the question about colonization:

This is what I try to tell my students: this is one great thing that literature can do —it

can make us identify with situations and people far away. If it does that, it's a miracle.

I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody

next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you

don't see, who's very far away, who's a different color, who eats a different kind of

food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.

Achebe is the voice of Africa along with the title of the article, The African Voice. He talks

about how the other people can judge the African from the book. So, the literature have a huge

effect because many people believe in it. However, they do not know it’s reality but they already

believe in what they read.

The way to attract the other people, Wainaina (n.d.) mimics about the white authors who

write about Africa, “In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with

rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot

and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise

descriptions” (p. 1). So, the white always write about Africa in the negative ways. The

consequences from this make the reader also think negative about Africa because the readers are

also the white people. ​Things Fall Apart​ is difference because the author is African and it is

about the Africa in the another point. Achebe shows that it is just a difference in culture. From

Things Fall Apart​, it shows the difference between the white which is Christian and the color

which is Igbo people. According to the text, “if only you agree to cooperate with us. We have
Monrada Teewunda (DD)
English 1209
Ms.Laurin Werner
December 3, 2018
brought a peaceful administration to you and your people so that you may be happy. If any man

ill-treats you we shall come to you rescue, But we will allow you to ill-treat others. We have a

court of law where we judge cases and administer justice just as it is done in my own country

under a great queen, I have brought you here because you joined together to molest others, to

burn people’s houses and their place of worship. That must not happen in the dominion of our

queen, the most beautiful ruler in the world” (Achebe, p. 194). The Christian think that their

culture is better than Igbo culture because they have a law and also they have a queen. They have

their own leader who administer the country. The situation as committing arson never happen in

their lands, which is administered by the queen. So, they think the African culture is bad and try

to spread about their own culture. Achebe (2000) talks about his novel, “the society of Umuofia,

the village in ​Things Fall Apart​, was totally disrupted by the coming of the European

government, missionary Christianity, and so on. That was not a temporary disturbance; it was a

once and for all alteration of their society.” The Christian comes to Africa and evangelism to

them. Some of African change their religion and because of the differences between Christian

and Igbo culture, the consequence causes African falls apart like the name of the novel. They

split into two part of Christianity and Igbo culture.

A big difference of the two culture is they have a definitely opposite thought and believe.

According to the text, “and the little church was at that moment too deeply absorbed in its own

troubles to annoy the clan. It all began over the question of admitting outcasts” (Achebe, p. 155).

The missionary welcome the outcasts which is the people who are abandoned from the clan. It

shows that Christian and Igbo are standing in the different position. Christian also blasphemous

to Igbo gods. This is demonstrated by, “and you call it is god. But it is still a piece of wood”
Monrada Teewunda (DD)
English 1209
Ms.Laurin Werner
December 3, 2018
(Achebe, p. 179). They also say that there are no other god. The Christian are not even ribald to

the Igbos god, as well as they disdain on the Igbo culture. They come to Africa to spread their

religion but they do not respect the native religion. Achebe (2000) gives his opinion that, “well,

not a shift in the structure of power. I'm not thinking simply of political power. The shift in

power will create stories, but also stories will create a shift in power. So one feeds the other. And

the world will be a richer place for that.” He thinks that everything has an effect. There is a way

to live on difference. Something may change because of the difference, but if respecting on the

others is happened, it will be a better place.

In conclusion, the white disdain on the color for a long time. They think they are supreme

because they only read the texts from their own perspective and think Africa is weird. Also, the

white and African have a lot of differences. Achebe is the voice from Africa who try to spread

out the truth about Africa. However, in these day using negative perspectives, racial differences,

and different positions to disdain on the color are still exist.


Monrada Teewunda (DD)
English 1209
Ms.Laurin Werner
December 3, 2018
References

Achebe, C. (1959). ​Things Fall Apart​. New York, New York: Penguin Books.

Bacon, K. (2000). An African Voice. Retrieved

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/08/an-african-voice/306020/

Wainaina, B. (n.d.). How to Write about Africa. Retrieved

https://e.edim.co/59825835/How_to_Write_about_Africa_-_Binyavanga_Wainaina.pdf?response

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