Something that stood out to me in Things Fall Apart is how the missionaries use the strategy of attracting the outcasts and the poorer members of each village first. It interested me because when i started reading the book, in part 1, i found a lot of the native customs to be quite odd and illogical. There is also a moment in the book where Okonkwo discusses with one of his friends how some of the village rules are unnecessary, and they mention how killing twins doesn’t really make sense (i can’t find the quote, i looked for a while but no luck, maybe one of you can help me out). I would tend to agree that killing twins makes no sense, and neither does exiling Okonkwo (one of the more important members of the clan) for an accident which he clearly deeply regrets even before he leaves town. The reason the missionaries’ strategy is so effective is because they know they must start somewhere, and those who have been essentially forsaken by their own gods are a good place to start. The osu for example (Achebe 156), are a caste that is banished to a worse region of the village and not allowed to attend meetings or really interact with anyone. Once they see they are welcome despite their born deficiencies (not actually deficiencies, but are perceived to be), they are instantly willing to join the religion. My Bible reference here would be “the meek shall inherit the earth,” which is basically saying that those who were suffering in the past can be redeemed through God’s power.
I find this to have an interesting contrast with gender roles in the story, because Okonkwo is always talking about how womanly it is for men to do anything besides farming and killing stuff (exaggeration), and directly refers to his son as effeminate when he converts to the new religion. The idea that it is the weak and womanly ones who are going over to the new religion is very strong for Okonkwo, and it obviously they are viewed as betrayers by Okonkwo, and seemingly by the author, all though i don’t want to make that assumption. the question i have is are they really betraying their clan by joining a new religion? clearly its not as if the whites are all peaceful and trying to spread love, but it is also obvious that these individuals were equally betrayed by their own clan because they were cast out for reasons attributed to religious belief (such as being born into a certain caste, twins, etc.). So who is really betraying who? is Okonkwo’s son a terrible kid for turning his back on his own father and joining a strange religion? Or does it totally make sense because he constantly gets whooped on by his dad and called feminine? i want to side with Okonkwo in a way because it seems he is the character to root for throughout the story, but he also is a terrible person on multiple occasions and beats everybody up whenever he can…let me know what you think!