Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 20

As early as Okonkwo's first year in exile, he had already had in mind the grand entry that he would want to have in Umuofia. Okonkwo has resolved to make up for the seven years he thinks he wasted when he was in exile. Not only does Okonkwo think of building a bigger compound than before, he is also planning to build huts for two more wives.

Okonkwo makes plans for a triumphant return, however, the plans immediately upset when Nwoye joins the Christians. At the start, his eldest son's child's activity disappoints him and he becomes stressed. Okonkwo, however, is certain that his other five children won't disappoint him like Nwoye. Okonkwo additionally takes pride in his daughters, particularly Ezinma, who has developed into a wonderful young lady. Her cases of sickness have reduced drastically. Numerous suitors in Mbanta have requested her hand marriage, however, she has rejected them all, realizing that her dad wishes her to marry in Umuofia. In addition, she has motivated her stepsister Obiageli to take the suit. 

Okonkwo is disturbed that his people in Umuofia are hesitant to use violence to fight the white man's religion as well as his oppressive government. His companion Obierika says that they fear a fate like Abame's, the village that was destroyed by the white man. He likewise enlightens Okonkwo concerning a villager who was hanged by the administration due to a contention over land. He says that any act of violence will set clansmen against each other, in light of the fact that numerous people from the many clans have effectively joined the new faith. Obierika is left wondering how the white man came and set up the religion peacefully but then became very harsh when they established the government, avoiding to listen to the local and ruling without following the traditions of the people.


In Part two of the book, the significant change presented by the white man was the Christian church, which divided the people, as well as separated families. In Part Three, the white man's administration takes a prominent role in the society, not just with its court and its "court ambassadors" but also with its jail and its executions. These changes are accounted for by Achebe in a condescending tone, as though the formation of a government by the white colonialists was the Igbos' first involvement with government, as though the Igbo did not have a justice framework before the entry of the whites. Achebe's approach in presenting the white man's establishment of government and justice system does not recognize his earlier statements which indicated that there was justice system in place and t is this system that made a ruling against Okonkwo. One of the primary roles of this book demonstrated that the Igbos were already a sophisticated group of people when the white men came and that was represented by their religion and justice systems.

Achebe portrays the first government that subdues the Igbos without requiring the missionaries to take time and learns the language of the Igbos, neither was they interested in understanding the cultural practices of the Igbos (The first church representative, Mr. Brown, is the exception in being accommodating to Igbo language and customs.)

By selecting other African locals — the kotmas, or court messengers — to be their operators in the everyday execution of their power, the evangelists carry into their select individuals with skin shades and dialect qualities much like the locals — individuals who appear to be close of the locals (though their dialect was apparently different). the court officials misused their positions, beating up suspects as they also took bribes.

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