Manifest Destiny, I Do Believe
In “Manifest Destiny, I Do Believe,” Cordelia – a fictional missionary and pioneer - writes a letter about her bold plans to travel west and “civilize” the Indians in the name of Manifest Destiny.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text after students have completed chapter 21 in Things Fall Apart, and read the exchange between Mr. Brown, the Christian missionary, and Akunna, one of the clan leaders. Ask students to compare both Mr. Brown motivations for coming to Umuofia with Cordelia’s sense that it is her duty to God to travel west and bring “light” to a “dark” place. Have students discuss the motivations of both Mr. Brown and Cordelia in light of being presented with a novel like Things Fall Apart, a text that presents a different perspective to the missionaries. How do Mr. Brown and Cordelia make assumptions about their God-given “duties?” How do the two of them use God as justification to spread their sense of culture and civilization? How does Achebe use the characters in the novel to present a counter culture and civilization in opposition to the sense of duty that Mr. Brown and Cordelia promote?