Umofia as Athenian
Many critics note that Umofian society is similar to ancient Greek civilization. Some point out that Greece was influenced by Africa, and that the democratic system in place in African society predated that of Greece. The colonizers may not have recognized it, but the readers of Achebe's book can see the oft-honored ways of Athens. This endears the Umofian nation to Western readers, by making it more familiar and even culturally superior to the British invaders. But there is one major problem with that idea. "By circumscribing Achebe's book within European aesthetic traditions, such readings are in danger of perpetuating precisely the colonialist gestures that the book is designed to surmount." (Booker, 66) Western readers may be alienated by an unfamiliar society, but to cater to Western tastes, to Booker, is evidence of intellectual colonization.
Yet Ernest N. Emenyonu’s claim that the Christian missionaries “convert the people from their old ways and religious beliefs and practises […] by sheer force of an obtrusive dogma” (85) cannot hold. Instead of an ‘obtrusive dogma’, it is the attractiveness of the new faith to all those who found themselves disadvantaged in some way or other under the old one; later on, it is also the attractiveness of the mission school, due to its connection with the colonial government. And although the Christians show some aggressive traits, ‘sheer force’ is always left to the colonial power.