The dominant theme of Things Fall Apart centers on the conflict involving customary Igbo culture and the traditions and beliefs of the settlers. Chinua wrote the work of fiction in English but integrated into the text a rhythm that suggested the logic of African verbal narration. He further employed customary African imagery like palm oil, Igbo traditional axioms and the harmattan (an African dust-loaded breeze). In an attempt to demonstrate the variance between the two societies, Chinua illustrated habitual Christian signs and then explained the tribe's divergent responses to them. For example, Christians view locusts as a sign of ruin and devastation, whereas the Umuofians celebrate their arrival, since they are a basis of provisions. The onset of the locusts comes immediately prior to the appearance of the missionaries in the narrative (Diana 63).
The theme of religion causes social degeneration in the novel. Near the conclusion of the book, we observe the occasions when Igbo culture starts to disintegrate. Religion is endangered as Umuofia mislays its independence, and the very cores of ethnic existence are vulnerable. These proceedings are all the more excruciating for the reader since a lot of time has been used up in a compassionate account of Igbo people; the reader understands that he has been studying a lifestyle that is no more existent. Mostly, given that one of the intimidations to Igbo culture is the arrival of the new faith, ethnic belief is a subject of some significance. Igbo spiritual values elucidate and give significance to humanity; the religion is as well inextricable from community and political organizations. Moreover, Achebe explains that Igbo sacred powers, like the Oracle, appear to hold mysterious meaning. He digs into the issue of Igbo religion with speculative intelligence (Diana 65).
Achebe, furthermore, expresses a favour of customary African society in the 1800`s. However, regardless of this, it looks like the disaster of Okonkwo symbolizes the theme of the story. Most of Achebe`s assertions are not restricted to the proceedings in his narrative, but recount the circumstances, in which conventional ideals are questioned and natives from diverse societies meet, the most insightful influence being linked to the subject of religion and integrity.
Similar to any superior religion, the Igbo belief comes with various fallacies. The person they call Chi is one of the false notions in the Igbo clan. Chi might be an individual section of the Supreme Being, exceptional for every person. It verifies a great deal of an individual's achievements and personality: "When a man says yes his chi says yes also" (Achebe 19). Nevertheless, all together, a person does not defy his Chi; the Igbo people believe that the wickedness committed by a person can destroy the entire tribe. The earth deity whom the person insults might decline to give them harvests, and they will eventually perish (Achebe 22). This is specifically what Ezeani tells Okonkwo in reaction to his dispute in opposition to his Chi, by whipping his wife in the week of tranquility. Thus Okonkwo turns out to be an example of a man defying his Chi. His hopeless aspiration to challenge his Chi does not allow him go past disappointment, devastation and demise. Chi is, all together, a fate and an inner dedication that cannot be rejected.
The Igbo belief has an inclination to signify abundant quantities of godly divinities. They possessed a deity for all diverse ordinary occurrences that transpired. These objects of adoration were items like trees, wooden chips, mountains, caves among others. For each figurative deity, there was a creature in the tribe that symbolized it. Ezeani, the high priestess of the Earth’s supernatural being, characterized Ani, the divinity of earth. The tribe gets information from the deity via prophesies of the mountains and caves. Other signs in the Igbo belief are the sanctified silk cotton tree and the forest of immorality.
Additionally, the celebrations in the narrative add to the buildup of this theme. The two feasts "The Festival of the New Yam" and "Week of harmony" are significant signs of the people and of the influence that deities possess. The week of tranquility was viewed as one of the methods of the clan union as well as conciliation for the divinities controlling the harvest. The festival of the new yam symbolized the New Year commencement, and it was the moment of celebration and appreciation of Ani, the earth deity. Ani was the basis of all fruitfulness, the crucial arbitrator of ethical behavior, and was in close relationship with deceased fathers (Achebe 26)
Offerings were another component that constituted the Igbo religion. They believed that their offerings facilitated one's reconciliatory bond with their deities. Their sacrifices varied from animals all the way to required fruits from their vegetation. Animals were a representation of religious and material approaches of offering. The animal body was viewed as an element of the existing Earth, although it was originally a part of the divine sphere. The Igbo people were totally convinced that their diseases could be cured by sacrifices. Sacrifices could multiply fruitfulness and also assist in overcoming their neighboring adversary. A good example of a sacrifice used to evade battle (over the death of an Umofian female who had been murdered in Mbiano) was the demise of Ikemufa (Achebe 32).
In his book, Achebe does not only expound on the Igbo faith, but also brings in Christianity, a fascinating feature of the religion theme, because it envisions religions’ combination. Chinua is extremely conscious when bringing out both the harmful and constructive features of Christianity and its effect on the Igbo clan. A good example of Achebe’s support for Christianity is when he consents to Nwoye`s shift to Christianity. Nwoye`s misery at Okonkwo`s annoyance and rage over the Ikemufa’s sacrifice, and his father's function in that killing is an excellent sign of Achebe’s support. Christians attach deep faith in the teaching of the divine trinity, and the Igbo faith believes in the antecedent spirits of the numerous deities in the religion. This is a key dissimilarity and, sadly, the combination of the two religions led to events causing fury and resentment on either side (Diana 67).
The integrity of the Igbo natives relies deeply on the verdict made by family spirits and the prediction of the mountains and caves. The Igbo people abide to regulations that are innate and oral, yet recognized as a component of the belief. The court gathering of the Igbo clan was a male public ritual which took place in Ilo village. It was viewed as the Supreme Court whose task was to handle the arguments involving the villagers. Even though there was the attendance of a moderator and a panel of adjudicators in the court, the adjudicators were composed of nine diverse spirits and the arbitrator was the immorality forest. This illustrates that the Igbo tribe counted on their spirits for fairness to be provided (Diana 69).
Religious symbols are used as symbols of justice in their society. They need their gods and their ancestral spirits to intervene in their court proceedings. This shows that the Igbo religion was the backbone of both spiritual and justice matters. For instance, occasionally through the book, the earth deity (Ani) can be viewed as a basis of justice, given that she reprimands Okonkwo for whipping his wife in the week of harmony and also afterward banishes him from Umofia village for seven years for killing a tribe's man unintentionally. The subject of religion in the book does not only exhibit the Igbo belief and Christianity, but also communicates the point that the combination of faiths is often bloody (Diana 71).