Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 18

At first, the congregation and the clan stay at loggerheads in Mbanta. The clan members, however, feel that the Christians will soon get tired and fizzle out. As a result, some people felt that there is no need having problems with them. Most importantly, there continued worshiping in the forest is believed to be the catalyst towards their eventual destruction.

One day, three converts come into the village saying that the traditional gods are dead, and the believers are prepared to burn down the holy places of the village. The village men seriously beat the converts, after which nothing occurs between the Christians and the faction for quite a while. In the long run, bits of gossip circle that the congregation has set up its own government. However, the villagers stay unconcerned about the congregation — until the point when another issue develops.

The outcasts of Mbanta, the osu, live in a segregated part of the village. They are to be buried in the Evil Forest when they diet.  When the osu see that the congregation invites twins into their assembly, they feel that they might be welcome in the church. After two outcasts go to the church, some converts dissent, saying that Mr. Kiaga does not comprehend the ramifications of having fellowship with osu. However, Mr. Kiaga says that the osu require the congregation more than anybody else, thus he invites them, teaching them to shave off their sign of disgrace — their filthy, tangled hair. One earlier convert comes back to the group, and others find the teachings of the new religion much more comforting and pleasant than the traditional practices. A lot of the osu receive the new faith, become converts and become some of the strongest and most committed members of the church.


Okonkwo's perspectives toward the Christians and his desire for a violent response start to isolate him from his new village — which he supposes is a womanly tribe. He feels that it is weak to prevent the Christians from having access to several public places. According to him, a violent response is the most suitable approach to this matter.

In order to avoid unnecessary clashes with each other, the church and the clan have come up with approaches that they feel will allow the two groups not to clash. there are instances when a meeting between these two groups led to violence such as the case when some converts mocked the traditional gods and were beaten severely. In addition, it is evident that the number of converts is increasing rapidly and that is making the clan remain very weak. s a result, it has led to conflicts among the non-converts and between the converts and the non-converts. When the converts say or do something that is against the traditions and teaching of the church, the delicate harmony that exists between them is disturbed. However, it is notable that many of the conflicts get resolved without violence.

The strength of the new religion is notable due to the high-octane preparations for Christmas that are being witnessed in the community.

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