It is incredible how a single quote can encapsulate the main idea of an entire novel. Chinua Achebe, the author, puts the reader in Okonkwo and Obierikas shoes when their culture disintegrated before their eyes, and they let it happen. The novel takes place in the village of Umuofia in Africa.
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There, culture is based primarily on religion and established practice. Their religion was part of the Igbo culture and was polytheistic. However, at one point, white men arrived and tried to colonialize the clan by converting them to Christianity, a monotheistic religion. When the white men requested land to create a Church, Umuofias leaders purposefully gave them land in the Evil Forest, because that is the location where they would leave cursed people to die.
Therefore, the white men would be dead in only a few days. However, when they survived, people were astonished, and that gave the people of the Igbo clan a reason to doubt their religion and convert to Christianity. Okonkwo, the narrator, is a man with a great reputation in Umuofia, who is very traditional and expects a lot from his children and wives. He grew up with an effeminate, lazy father who had a poor reputation. He thought anyone with feminine qualities was weak, so he wished that all of his children were male. Furthermore, Okonkwo believed that his eldest son, Nwoye, was too feminine, and he was beaten for it.
Therefore, when Okonkwo realized that Nwoye converted to Catholicism, he reached his breaking point and even tried to choke him. Nwoye reminded Okonkwo of his father,
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