Things Fall Apart Identity Issues Essay

1275 Words 6 Pages
Skylar Plothow
Block 7
Identity Issues Chinua Achebe and James Cameron use their own forms of art to express the central idea of cultures colliding. A historical fiction novel written by Chinua Achebe, “Things Fall Apart”, is the story of a tribe in Nigeria and the struggles they face throughout colonization. Avatar is a film written, directed, and produced by James Cameron consisting of a marine going on a mission to a world called Pandora and having to choose between sticking to his orders or staying there. Both authors represent the identity issues faced by different cultures that come into contact with one another. These identity issues are shown by the following different factors: culture, morals or beliefs, and religion. While
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Culture is the combination of a person’s set of moral beliefs and way of life. If someone comes into contact with another culture that challenges their morals, it’s inevitable that they will feel threatened. According to Michelle LeBaron in her article in Beyond Intractability, “We may mistake differences between others and us for evidence of bad faith or lack of common sense on the part of others, not realizing that common sense is also cultural. What is common to one group may seem strange, counterintuitive, or wrong to another” (n.pag.). The things that people believe are right in their minds; therefore, if others don’t have those same beliefs, they must be wrong. For example, Achebe’s novel perfectly demonstrates this. A missionary, Mr. Kiaga, is talking with a new convert from the Mbanta tribe about letting someone else from the tribe into their Christian church. Achebe writes, ““You do not understand,” said one of the converts. “What will the heaven say of us when they hear that we receive osu in our midst? They will laugh.”” (Achebe, 156). An osu is a person believed to be dedicated to a god and is forbidden to marry anyone unless they are also an osu; consequently, making an osu an outcast. It continues with, “Let them laugh,” said Mr. Kiaga. “God will laugh at them on the judgement day. Why do the nations rage and the peoples imagine a vain thing? He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh” (Achebe, 156). Mr. Kiaga merely dismisses the worries and opinions of the convert as if he was simply wrong. He does this because he was raised to believe the opposite, so he thinks of the Mbanta tribe as foolish to believe such a thing. Culture causing conflict is also shown in Avatar. Jake Sully is new in Pandora and there are animals trying to attack him in the forest. He is running away from them and trying to kill them off, when a girl shows up and saves him.

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