Colonialism is seen as a difficult arrangement that prevents even the best people from acting for the common good. Chapters in which the British officials discuss with one another reveal that while they are not the worst of their type, racism and ignorant condescension more or less come with the territory. On page 174 is a great example “The white man watched Ezuelu with something like amusement on his face. When the interpreter finished he tightened up his face and began again. He rebuked Ezeulu for showing disrespect for the order of the government and warned him that if he showed such disrespect again he would be severely punished.”
The British master plan for governing the Igbo, a plan with which Winterbottom, a seasoned colonial ruler, strongly opposes because it invites exploitation and corruption. The plan is to set up certain African leaders as British spectators. This novel is intercultural because it’s dealing with two different civilizations of society. The two components that exist are modern versus tradition. Achebe is concerned with the toll taken on Igbo people by the replacing of their old beliefs. A lesser son of Ezeulu, Oduchi, is chosen to go a Christian school more or less as a mole to keep his father informed. In a literal and misguided interpretation of scripture, he decides he must crush the head of one of the pythons that are sacred creatures to the Igbo.
Achebe is very depictive when writing themes of descriptions of most marriages between characters. He displays this genuine love that exists between the husband and the favored wife, as in the tenderly drawn marriage between Obika and Okuata. On the other hand, the wealthy, greedy Nwaka who opposes Ezeulu at the outset of the book has acquired five wives by the book’s end. The position of women within Igbo society is perceived to compromise with polygamy. Older wives often express jealousy of new ones but worse possibilities occur because of the corruption of colonialism. One African elevated to a position of status by the British is said to take any woman he wants without paying the bride price. Within the Igbo culture, women are at highly protected. This is a perfect example of how the language and writing technique communicates to outside readers by using emotions that inform the relations between the races.
This novels theme is universal and is capable to relate to readers outside of Africa. The reason being is that many civilizations consist of religions and customs that are embedded from one generation to the next. The conflict between the civilization of the Igbo and the British bringing colonialism and their Christian religion to West Africa is reenacted in this novel through the perspective of Ezeulu, the Chief Priest of Ulu in Umuaro, a god who had originated from the need to fight the slave traders. In many ways Chinua Achebe’s defined modern African literature. He does not want African literature to be underestimated neither misunderstood. The writings maybe different but the content is precisely the same.