Thursday, March 02, 2006

Things Fall Apart Summary 2

Things Fall Apart Summary 2

The second half of Things Fall Apart takes on a different tone than the first half. I apologize for the obvious statement, but it is accurate, and serves as a decent topic sentence for my summary. First and foremost in my thoughts about the chapter is the significant break down in tone, or at least, in the continuity of the tone. Previously, the narrator has been an impartial 3rd party, commenting, but not judging. However, as our professor stated in class on Tuesday, the narrative voice could very well be the voice of the village. Indeed, as Christianity begins to spread throughout the villages, there is a specific portion where the narrator begins to extol the virtues of Christianity and the non-Christian attitudes of the other characters. This marks a significant point at which, if the narrator is truly the voice of the village, the village is becoming predominantly Christian. Not only has the influence of the White man spread to the people, but it has affected even the narrator, a sort of subtle sneaking influence that breaks even the fourth wall, in a sense.
On the subject of subtle and sneaking, Christianity takes on a rather sinister face in the latter half of Things Fall Apart. The reader has spent the majority of the book coming to know the characters and becoming familiar with the customs of the village. It is easy to sympathize with their trials and tribulations. In effect, the reader has seen through the eyes of the community. And later, through the eyes of the community, the reader is witness to the slow, sinister spread of Christianity as it worms its way through their customs, beliefs, and basic way of life. Not having taken any prior interest in missionaries or their work, I have to wonder if this is the standard method of spreading the word of Christ. The church in the book is placed in the Evil Forest, for both narrative reasons and metaphorical reasons. On one occasion, it is likened to the toothy maw of the Evil Forest, and indeed, it’s actions seem to be like those of some Cthulu-like creature; sending out tendrils to draw in new members into its maw of darkness. Here, in Things Fall Apart, the heart of darkness Christianity, surrounded by all things dark and evil to the Umuofia people as it slowly wears away at the very fabric of society, and results even in the death of the protagonist.
I am a bit confused on the final paragraph of the book. I assume that there is some deep significance to the white man and the book he plans to publish, but I didn’t quite catch it. Is it perhaps some subtle play on Heart of Darkness?

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