Chi, Things Fall Apart: Uncivilized Notions in both Igbo and British Cultures

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Updated: Aug 26, 2023
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What is Chi in Things Fall Apart: Exploring Cultural Dichotomies and Uncivilized Behaviors

In the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, an African author, proves how uncivilized people are no matter where they are from. Achebe’s novel portrays that both sides, the British and the Igbo people are quite uncivilized. It can be concluded that the Igbo tribe and its’ people are uncivilized due to the fact that they still believe in male dominance. Throughout the novel, there are countless examples of male dominance.

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A meeting was occurring at one point, and it was said that “no woman ever asked questions about the most powerful and most secret cult of the clan” (88); the text goes on to state that the cult was only for male members of the tribe. The women of the tribe were not treated as equals in comparison to men. There is no respect for the women in the tribe; “When she returned, he beat her very heavily” (30).

This alludes to the fact that women in the tribe are treated very poorly basically because man says so. Women today are treated in a very civilized manner, and if they are not, there will be consequences for the man who disrespected her. The British are uncivilized in the fact that they do not allow religious freedom. When the British people came to take over the Igbo tribe, they tried to make it clear that there was only one religion and that “there are no other gods” (179). This does not allow people to express themselves because they must be a part of one religion, and that religion only, Christianity. During this time, the Igbo tribe starts to doubt themselves because they believe in many gods, but the British keep insisting that “God will laugh at [you] on judgment day” (156).

Confronting Conformity: The Clash of Beliefs in Things Fall Apart

They want the Igbo to surrender and conform to THEIR god, and to me, the idea of conformity is harshly uncivilized. Today, we are all about freedom of expression, and by making people switch to one religion, we take that right away, taking away the civilized culture we have. In my personal opinion, Christianity is the ultimate form of conformity, and I personally have renounced religion due to this. It puts things in the perspective of looking barbaric. The one common thing the two groups share, however, is the fact that they do not believe they have done anything wrong. Both sides do what they believe in and do what they believe is best. In conclusion, you can now see that in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, both the British and the Igbo are uncivilized in their own ways.


  1. Achebe, Chinua. “Things Fall Apart.” Heinemann, 1958.
  2. Ogbaa, Kalu. “Understanding Things Fall Apart: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents.” Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999.
  3. Whittaker, David. “Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism in Chinua Achebe’s Novels.” Routledge, 2016.
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Chi, Things Fall Apart: Uncivilized Notions in Both Igbo and British Cultures. (2023, Aug 26). Retrieved from