Later Okonkwo commits a sin that sends him into exile for seven years. On his return, he finds his village inhabited by Christian missionaries and European rule which is quickly plunging Umuofia into a rapidly developing Christian fellowship. This was of course a stark representation of the affairs of the country in early 20th century, as Africa was invaded by similar outside forces back then and the avidity of the British rule was something the country had to face, just like Okonkwo.
Since these forces seem to be alleviating his own importance and personal identity, Okonkwo has a tough time dealing with them. His stance against the colonies is vivid and strong, as he attempts to rid Umuofia of them, resulting in a Christian death at his hands. This raises questions of the severity of troubles afflicting the nation as a result of the Colonial invasion.
Achebe’s message is clear and given the setting this book was released in back in 1958, shows how lifelike and factual the conflicts were. While on the surface of it, Okonkwo did cause damage to himself; in his quest for manhood he attained significant material success and was only caused discomfort due to his own thirst for acquiring the highest title within his land. Dig deeper though and Achebe’s message resounds like a car screeching to a halt; the conflicts arising because of how the Europeans handled Africa have scarred the country very deeply and as Okonkwo’s confrontation on his return shows, it is hard to fix things that have been broken.
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