Friday, February 24, 2017
When the British first come to Umuofia, Mr. Brown is the priest who tries to convert the indigenous. Mr. Brown is very considerate and tries to immerse himself in the Igbo culture and values. He often visits Akunna, one of the leaders of the clan, and holds discussion centered around each religion. Mr. Brown is civil in his approach and attempts to learn the Igbo beliefs and use them to help convert the indigenous. Mr. Brown is respectful and avoids conflict by reaching out to Akunna and building a relationship. Mr. Smith, the priest who replaces Mr. Brown, is the complete opposite. Achebe uses the names to symbolize race, Brown representing someone more accepting of the African people and Smith, a common white name, to represent someone strict to British beliefs and white supremacy. Mr. Smith kicks out some converts for minor offenses and rules with a heavy hand. He views the indigenous as inferior and in need of the British as the only way to progress their civilization. Achebe juxtaposes the two characters, Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith, to show how the British should go about trying to convert people, versus how they actually did.