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The clash of cultures is undoubtedly one of the most universal themes seen in literature. and China are one example; the Palestinians and Israelis are another—continue their struggles to reconcile dissimilar beliefs through negotiation, and in some cases, armed conflict.This cultural clash can be seen throughout life and history anytime two groups of people hold differing views that cannot coexist. Similarly, the European missionaries and the native Umuofians struggle to coexist peacefully.Okonkwo saw within Nwoye the same “effeminate” essence of his the father whom he hates so much.
The clash of cultures, the struggle with change, and fatal character flaws are the main themes which Achebe’s novel probes.
However, the relationship between the Europeans and the Umuofians is one-sided.
When the Europeans arrived in Umuofia, they brought Christianity with them but did not foist it upon anyone; joining the church was entirely optional.
“Old men nodded to the beat of the drums and remembered . One method they used to captivate the tribesmen was to sing hymns. It was one of those gay and rollicking tunes of evangelism which had the power of plucking at silent and dusty chords in the heart of an Ibo man” (146). Achebe uses imagery of the “silent” and “dusty” Umuofian man’s heart being quenched by the Christian music to demonstrate the European point-of-view.
No doubt, the missionaries believed that they were bringing salvation (water) to a savage people (living in the desert).