Nwoye's Transformation: Religion and Identity in "Things Fall Apart"

download print

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 686 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 686|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a seminal work that explores the complexities of pre- and post-colonial African life. One of the most compelling characters in the novel is Nwoye, the son of the protagonist Okonkwo. Nwoye’s journey is emblematic of the broader cultural and religious shifts occurring in the Igbo society during this period. His transformation from an obedient son adhering to traditional Igbo religious practices to a convert to Christianity highlights the tensions between tradition and change, identity and transformation. This essay delves into Nwoye's religious transformation, examining the factors that contribute to his conversion and the implications for his identity and relationships.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Nwoye's initial adherence to the traditional Igbo religion is primarily a function of familial and societal expectations. As the son of Okonkwo, a staunch traditionalist, Nwoye is expected to follow in his father's footsteps. However, from the outset, Nwoye exhibits a sense of discomfort with the rigid and often brutal aspects of Igbo tradition. This discomfort is exacerbated by the death of Ikemefuna, a boy who had become like a brother to Nwoye. Okonkwo’s participation in Ikemefuna’s death acts as a catalyst for Nwoye’s growing disenchantment with his culture's customs and religious practices. Achebe writes, “Nwoye knew that it was right to be masculine and to be violent, but somehow he still preferred the stories that his mother used to tell… which were more gentle.” This internal conflict sets the stage for Nwoye's eventual gravitation towards Christianity, which he perceives as offering a more compassionate and less violent worldview.

The arrival of Christian missionaries in Umuofia introduces a new religious paradigm that contrasts sharply with the traditional Igbo beliefs. For Nwoye, Christianity presents an alternative that resonates with his internal moral compass. The missionaries' teachings on love, forgiveness, and the inherent worth of every individual appeal to Nwoye, who has long felt out of place within his own culture. His conversion to Christianity is not merely a rejection of Igbo religion but also an assertion of his personal identity and moral beliefs. Achebe poignantly captures Nwoye’s internal liberation when he describes how “the hymn about brothers who sat in darkness and in fear seemed to answer a vague and persistent question that haunted his young soul—the question of the twins crying in the bush and the question of Ikemefuna who was killed.” This new religious framework provides Nwoye with a sense of belonging and purpose that he had been unable to find within the traditional Igbo context.

Nwoye’s conversion has significant implications for his relationship with his father and his community. Okonkwo perceives Nwoye’s conversion as a profound betrayal, seeing it as a rejection of his lineage and everything he stands for. This rift between father and son embodies the broader cultural and generational conflicts that colonization and the introduction of Christianity bring to Igbo society. Nwoye’s choice to adopt a new religion is a form of rebellion against the oppressive expectations placed upon him by his father and his community. It is also a declaration of his autonomy and his right to forge his own path. The estrangement between Nwoye and Okonkwo underscores the novel's exploration of the theme of change and the inevitability of cultural transformation. While Okonkwo views change as a threat to his identity and status, Nwoye embraces it as an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

In conclusion, Nwoye’s religious transformation in Things Fall Apart serves as a microcosm of the larger cultural and religious upheavals occurring in Igbo society during the colonial period. His journey from adherence to traditional Igbo beliefs to embracing Christianity highlights the complex interplay between individual identity and cultural change. Through Nwoye, Achebe illustrates the emotional and psychological struggles that accompany the clash between tradition and modernity. Nwoye’s conversion is not just a rejection of his past but also an affirmation of his personal values and beliefs. It signifies a quest for a more humane and compassionate worldview, one that ultimately leads to the redefinition of his identity. Achebe’s portrayal of Nwoye’s transformation invites readers to reflect on the broader implications of cultural and religious change, both for individuals and for societies as a whole.

Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Nwoye’s Transformation: Religion and Identity in “Things Fall Apart”. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 21, 2024, from
“Nwoye’s Transformation: Religion and Identity in “Things Fall Apart”.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
Nwoye’s Transformation: Religion and Identity in “Things Fall Apart”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jul. 2024].
Nwoye’s Transformation: Religion and Identity in “Things Fall Apart” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 21]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now