Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mr. Brown's Tactics

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in class, but we noted that Mr. Brown had large success converting natives to christianity by appealing to the beliefs of the Igbo people. He points out similarities between Christianity and the Igbo religion. He's able to liken the wooden gods to crucifixes by confirming that the Igbo share the belief that there is one true god (Chukwu and Jehovah are the same guy.) It turns out that these tactics of establishing similarities between christian belief and foreign belief prove not only effective in Africa, but in China with the Jesuits. In addition to stating similarities, the Jesuits also appealed directly to the Chinese' fondness for knowledge, something which they could target and use as a focal point with the introduction of new concepts like Western sciences, mathematics, and astronomy to the imperial court.


wkuehne said...

Mr. Brown does appear to be a much more inquisitive man than Mr. Smith. Mr. Brown does try to impose his religion on a culture that cannot survive conversion's influences (basically Ibo society falls apart by white man's religious influences). However, Mr. Brown's method of conversion is based on understanding Ibo culture, and trying to teach IBo people about religion. Mr. Brown's method of conversion is very different than Mr. Smith's method, which could hardly be called conversion because he literally kicks people out of the church.

wkuehne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TSHAH said...

It is quite interesting to see Achebe present two very different white characters: Mr. Brown, and Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith serves as a foil for Mr. Brown who tried to appeal to the Ibo in a logical manner rather than an irrational method of forcing European ways. Achebe is hinting that African colonization may have gone very differenlty had the all the Europeans delt with European conversions like Mr. Brown had. This in turn would have avoided much conflict that arose when people like Mr. Smith came around. Society was semi-content with Mr. Brown around, however with the rise of Mr. Smith all began to go wrong and conflict began.