Complex Culture in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe the author teaches us how the Ibo and the British are both uncivilized in their own ways. The Ibo being uncivilized in their technology. While the British are uncivilized in their world view and the way they treat other people. The text states He had and old rusty gun made by a clever blacksmith who came to live in Umofia long ago pg.38. This shows how technologically primitive the people of Umofia are. Most of their tools and weapons are basic/simple tools, and the little bit of advanced technology they have came from another culture.

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But even though they have some advanced technology they cannot replicate it. We see this in the quote when it says the gun was made by a foreign blacksmith, it seems as though they can use advanced technology but don’t have the means to make the items/tools themselves. If they could it’s fair to say guns, medicine, and other technologies would be more abundant in Umofia. The text also states Umuru on the bank of the Great River, where the white men first came many years before and where they had built the center of their high religion and trade and government. Pg.174.

This quote shows the way the British are uncivilized by exposing their Conquer all attitude. They came to Africa and immediately started colonizing and changing the peoples culture the way they see fit. And even worse, they do all of this without a knowledge of the culture or people. He spoke through an interpreter this shows us the little understanding of the Ibo the British have, if they can’t even speak their language they definitely do not understand the complexity of Ibo culture, and all their customs. Yet with this giant lack of understanding they still changed the government, tried to kill the Ibo’s religion, and punished the tribe for subscribing to their ancient rituals and customs. All this action with no understanding shows how uncivilized the British are. Believing their way is the best way without even understanding the other options. Things fall apart by Achebe shows us the Ibo are technologically uncivilized, but the British are culturally/morally uncivilized. And it might even be argued that the Ibo are more civilized, sure they don’t have iron armor, or large ships, or probably even maps. But they do have a very complex culture that tends to stay focused on itself, whereas the British are focused on converting everything else. To me, the ladder seems more uncivilized.

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Complex Culture in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. (2019, Dec 22). Retrieved from