The presentation of Mr Brown in Things Fall Part

7 Oct

In chapter twenty-one of the novel, ‘Things Fall Apart’, the reader is introduced to Mr Brown, a white missionary. Mr Brown is a symbol of any positive aspects of colonization. The character, Mr Brown, shows mutual respect towards the Ibo people, as shown on page 130 when the author remarks, “and so Mr Brown came to be respected even by the clan, because he trod softly on its faith”. Mr Brown shows understanding that in order to be respected by the clan he cannot impose his beliefs upon them. This is contrasted with the presentation of Mr Smith in future chapters who appears apathetic and uninterested in understanding the culture of the Ibo people. Mr Smith represents oppression and the negative elements of colonization. His name, Mr Smith, is a common British name, suggests a majority of colonizers acted in the same way as him rather than Mr Brown. Mr Brown also shows a sharing of ideas and culture when he and Akunna begin “talking through an interpreter about religion. Neither of the succeeded in converting the other but they learnt more about their different beliefs.” This exchange of ideas represents the exchange of ideas that is possible from the colonizer and the colonized.  Mr Brown is also has much in common with the colonized; a desire for peace. This is shown when the narrator remarks that “Mr Brown preached against such excess of zeal”. This suggests that Mr Brown is not extreme in his actions and is rather pacifistic in his belief. All of the actions of Mr Brown show the positive elements of colonization. He does not express a sense of superiority or make the Ibo people feel inferior, atypical of the other colonizers.


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