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Six missionaries, headed by a white man, travel to Mbanta. Through an interpreter, the white man speaks to the village.

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Six missionaries, headed by a white man, travel to Mbanta. Through an interpreter, the white man speaks to the village. The interpreter's dialect incites mirthful laughter because he always says "my buttocks" when he means "myself." He tells the villagers that they are brothers, sons of God. He states that they worship false gods of wood and stone. He states that their mission is to persuade the villagers to leave their false gods and accept the one true God. The villagers do not understand how the Holy Trinity can be accepted as one God. Okonkwo thinks the newcomers must be insane. He had hoped Mbanta would drive them away. However, Nwoye is captivated. The "poetry of the new religion" seems to answer the vague misgivings he harbored regarding the deaths of Ikemefuna and twin newborns. The missionaries request a plot of land. The village leaders and elders give them a plot in their Evil Forest. They believe that the forest's sinister spirits and forces will kill them. To their surprise, nothing happens. Three converts join the church. The villagers remember that sometimes their ancestral spirits will allow an offending man a grace period of twenty-eight days before they punish his sins. ...read more.


The introduction of the European missionaries is not entirely a sorrowful event. Rather, it contains some comical elements. The villagers react to the humorous moments with relatively good nature, making fun of the interpreter's dialect. They do not see the missionaries as a threat, and they do not react violently like the village of Abame, even though the missionaries call their gods "false gods" outright. To the missionaries' credit, they do not forcibly thrust Christianity on the village as was often the case when Europeans colonized indigenous peoples. The arrival of Christianity did bring good things for some individuals. Nwoye is drawn to the religion because it seems to answer his long held doubts about aspects of Ibo religion, specifically the abandonment of twin newborns and Ikemefuna's death. The Christian church also offers refuge to lower status individuals. A pregnant woman who has seen four sets of her twin newborns thrown away to die seeks refuge to avoid the possible repetition of her misfortune. The church offers her an alternative religious value system that will allow her children to live should she give birth to another set. ...read more.


Overjoyed, the missionary states, "Blessed is he who forsakes his father and his mother for my sake." Therefore the Christian church is well aware that the central obstacle to the success of its missionaries is the strength of Ibo kinship bonds. Therefore, it goes to great effort to weaken the literal kinship bonds of the Ibo community to replace them with the metaphorical kinship bond through God. Moreover, the white colonial government subjects Ibo individuals to their justice system. Therefore, the colonial government often does not respect the Ibo culture's own advanced institutions for self-government. Many of their punishments also destroy the offender whereas the Ibo's own justice system tries very hard to allow the individual to atone for his wrongs without destroying him or his relationship to his community. Okonkwo's feast is a tribute to the kinship between his family and his mother's family. However, it is also a mourning rite, because the colonial government and religion will eventually weaken the mystical, religious power and symbolism of the Ibo kinship structure. However, Ezinma remains a comfort to Okonkwo throughout his troubles. She understands her importance to his position in the community, and she has considerable influence over her sister. Moreover, she also has a quick temper like her father. Of all his children, she resembles him the most. Bottom of Form 1 Resources ...read more.

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