¨Okonkwo did not taste any food for two days after the death of Ikemefuna (Achebe Page 55).¨ Grief is something everyone has to painfully accept and deal with. ¨Wish a baby dead, get another one in return as punishment. This is my reckoning (Lukavics Page 73).¨ People can deal with their grief of their loved ones in many ways. Amanda Verner from the book Daughter Unto Devils had a child at the age of 16 and kept it a secret from her family. Eventually when the time came she ended up having a miscarriage in the middle of the forest having to deal with her grief throughout the rest of the story. Amanda deals with her grief by talking to her sister Emily and trying to get through it all. Okonkwo from When Things Fall Apart has to deal with the fact he killed his own son Ikemefuna because his clan told him to. Okonkwo does not eat or anything and voids himself from the world for a bit. Everybody has different ways to deal with grief, but the best way isn't to keep everything bubbled up and starving yourself like Okonkwo for the few days he had done. Another bad example of keeping everything bubbled up is Amanda Verner keeping everything bubbled up for months and losing her mind. The best course of action is just to let it out and express your feelings instead of letting everything stack up on your mind.
In this passage, Achebe uses emphasis on symbolism, imagery and diction to exemplify the theme of karma, a form of cause and effect. This portrays the victimization of one’s self as a result of bad karma.
Okonkwo’s adherence to a tradition of cruelty that harms large groups of minorities leads to a pronounced division once Western missionaries establish their church: a church which allows for aspects of life that tribal law did not. His adherence to traditional law and inability to compromise — rigidity in a culture of flexibility — alienates family members, members of his community, and furthers an internal pressure which ultimately helps the pressures of colonialism. Okonkwo’s inflexible interpretation of tribal law, borne of a need to escape his father’s seemingly feminine weakness, leads to morally bankrupt decisions. Unable to settle on a compromise between law and morality, he murders Ikemefuna: although correct in the eyes of law, the action lacks morals, is purely driven by a need for social power and fear of seeming weak. Such personal conflict culminates in intense inner pressure on both Okonkwo’s part and on the part of the community as a whole, leading to a collapse of long standing unity when faced with the external pressure of missionaries, providing a “way out”. This culminates in a scene in which tribal leaders call for an attack on colonialist forces, including other tribal members which have joined the
He is a man who sees his purpose as a call to lead his community in order to make it the make it the best it can be, and the way he does this is by following social norms of Umuofia very closely. The society that Okonkwo lives in “appreciates personal success” as it pertains to the “well-being of the whole community”(Obiechina 41). Therefore, if Okonkwo sees something that will better his tribe, then he will do anything in his power to obtain that or accomplish what his leaders want. For example, Okonkwo took in Ikemefuna for years, treating him and thinking of him like a son. Although, when it came time for the tribe to sacrifice Ikemefuna, the leaders of Umuofia witnessed Okonkwo kill Ikemefuna because “he was afraid of being thought weak”(Achebe 61). Okonkwo will go to any extent in order to follow the social expectations of his tribe members. Because of this, he can not control himself when he sees his tribe’s traditions being thrown out because of the missionaries and no one is taking any action to change it. After Okonkwo tries to stand up for his community and is ignored, he hangs himself because he would rather die than witness his tribe be changed forever. The tragedy of Okonkwo “is caused not by his deviation from the norms of his society, but because he tries to adhere to these norms too completely”(Palmer
Perhaps it becomes clearer how much of an accomplishment it is to stay oneself in unforgiving circumstances when it is shown how it can feel like it is best to just give up. At the beginning of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is a stern man who had to support himself from a very young age, and through his tireless work, rises up the ranks to become one of the greatest man in the Igbo village of Umuofia. Okonkwo, because of the lazy and carefree nature of his father, Unoka, has very rigid, harsh beliefs about strength and responsibility. During and after his seven-year exile from Umuofia brought on by an accidental killing, he notices a slow change coming about with the arrival of Christian missionaries from Britain, looking for converts. Eventually, the church established there becomes large enough to threaten the Umuofian religion and disrupt the villagers’ lives. Okonkwo’s identity is closely tied to his life and status in Umuofia, and the ideals
When Okonkwo was introduced to the cultural change by the British colonial missionaries, he was angry because he felt that the colonial missionaries were trying to decrease the existence of one's manliness. “The white man is clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion”. Now they’ve put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” (Things Fall Apart, Chapter 20, Page 152) With the arrival of the white missionaries, the Igbo religion came to a disagreement upon the religion that's being changed in the igbo culture. Missionaries changed umuofia's religious traditions and turned them against their gods. Okonkwo then starts acting out in random acts of violence, such as killing. To Okonkwo this was, manliness to do that sorrow act. To Okonkwo this was important because he did not want to be like his weak father, therefore, Okonkwo continues to behave this
The disparity between Okonkwo’s true motivations and his warped motivations lead Okonkwo to behave in ways which shocked other members of Umuofia with his apparent disregard for others, but which made sense to him as he saw weakness and Unoka in alternatives. When Ezeudu, a respected elder in Umuofia, informed Okonkwo that the village Oracle called for the killing of Okonkwo’s adopted son Ikemefuna, he asked Okonkwo not to take part. However, Okonkwo not only accompanied them,
For all of his desire to be strong, Okonkwo is caught up by the constant fear of being perceived as weak. He is afraid of failure and afraid of being considered weak. This fear drives him to do whatever he can to not become a failure like his father which ironically contributes to his death. While Okonkwo was a strong and important figure in his tribe, he had to keep his reputation that way by making some hard decisions. One of them was when he had to kill Ikemefuna, a young boy from the neighboring tribe. Okonkwo started accepting the decision to kill Ikemefuna because he started to call Okonkwo father. He had to keep his own valor intact and kill the boy to prevent himself from showing any weakness, but deep down, Okonkwo was really upset because of what he did which was ironic, “’When did you become a shivering old woman,' Okonkwo asked himself, 'you, who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed.'" (Achebe 65). He continued to roll downhill when the white man comes to try and convert Okonkwo’s tribe. Okonkwo responds by killing one of the messengers that were sent. This cause Okonkwo's own tribe to question his actions. “"Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape.
In this passage of Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, the protagonist and main characters of the novel, Okonkwo, has just been sent into exile away from his land of Umuofia , Nigeria . The crime he has committed to receive such a punishment is the sin of murder. While he is attending a funeral for a man named, Ogbuefi Ezeudu, Okonkwo’s gun accidentally explodes and kills Ezeudu’s sixteen-year-old son. Killing a clansman is a crime against their earth goddess, thus, Okonkwo and his family are sent into exile, being forced to go back to his motherland of Mbanta. The men of the family who have experienced the loss in this accidental death burn Okonkwo’s houses and kill his animals to cleanse the village of his sin of murder. They do this to
After a village elder had found what crime Okonkwo committed, he told Okonkwo that, “you are not a stranger in Umuofia. You know as well as I that our forefathers ordained that before we plant any crops in the earth, we should observe a week of peace in which a man does not say a harsh word to his neighbor” (30). The elder proceeded to give Okonkwo instructions on how to attempt amends with the goddess. After a single action was taken, his proceeding efforts were nearly non-existent. Any attempt to fix the situation were minimal, as were efforts to learn from his mistakes. Furthermore, Okonkwo advances to partaking in the death of Ikemefuna. The relationship between the two is complicated, but is closest description is that of a boy and his step-father. Killing Ikemefuna is not an evil against the earth, as beating a wife during the week of peace was, but a crime against himself. He is unhappy with himself, and still does nothing to fix his ways, continuing on to single handedly killing a boy at a funeral. Although accidental, Okonkwo was still the man behind the gun. “It was a crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman, and a man who committed it must flee from the land….he could return to the clan after seven years” (124). Okonkwo had no choice but to leave for the seven years, perhaps upon his return
Okonkwo showed great interest in Ikemefuna and treated him like his son. However, Ikemefuna was boy from another village sacrificed to keep peace, thus soon there came a time when Ikemefuna had to die. The narrator shows that Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna, The pot fell and broke in the sand. He heard Ikemefuna cry, My father, they have killed me! as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak. (Chapter 7 Pg. 61) Although Okonkwo loved Ikemefuna and had much affection for him, Okonkwo was forced to leave all of his emotions behind in order to kill Ikemefuna and not be seen as a weak man who could not kill another man. Okonkwo showed no mercy as he was blinded by his fear of his fathers submissive attitude. Oknokwo had to protect his status as a true warrior in his clan and if he was not able to slay Ikemefuna, then Okonkwo fears that he might be called an agbala just like Unoka, Okonkwos father. This quote also shows that Oknokwo is willing to sacrifice virtually everything in order to keep his high rank among his tribe.
Okonkwo and Walter may or may not have achieved it, but while their eyes are fixated on their end goals for success and what they are gaining, they overlook their losses. Because of Okonkwo’s fear of being regarded weak, he often acts overly aggressive to demonstrate his masculinity. Examples of his acting aggressive and cruel fills the entire novel. The first incident is his beating of his wife Ojiugo during the week of peace. No violence is permitted during this week, but Okonkwo breaks the laws only to establish his dominance in the house. Afterall, he cannot be “like the man in the song who had ten and one wives and not enough soup for his foo-foo” (Achebe 57). This incident is an indication of Okonkwo’s disregard for tribal laws because of how less they weigh than his masculinity does in his heart. After already losing respect for the Igbo cultures and customs, Okonkwo continues on losing a dear son. Ikemefuna is captured from
Okonkwo’s participation in the slaying of his adopted son, Ikemefuna is a pivotal moment in Things Fall Apart. It is a moment of horror that cannot please Ani, the great earth goddess, the center of community, the ultimate judge of morality for the clan. It is a moment that changes the course of events, a moment eerily paralleled in the death of Ezeudu’s son. It is a moment that ultimately causes Okonkwo’s son, Nwoye’s to abandon his ancestors and become a Christian. It is a moment when the center of community life, the need to honor blood ties and the need to respect the earth goddess, can no longer hold. It is a moment when things fall apart.
He had no patience with his own father” (page 6). Okonkwo sees himself more powerful and more wise than any other man in the village could be. He often disrespects the clans gods by disobeying their commandments for peace. A great example of this is when Okonkwo beat his wife for little to no reason. Okonkwo was looking for any reason to beat his wife or disobey the religious rules “Okonkwo, with no work to do had been walking aimlessly in his compound in suppressed anger, found an outlet.” (page 37). Okonkwo will do anything to maintain his self molded figure of his character being characterized by strength of power. Okonkwo will go to any extent to keep his character. While reading Things Fall Apart the reader see Okonkwo going to extremes when he killed his son Ikemefuna. The reader can see he loved and cared for and had a strong connection to Ikemefuna and for him to to kill him without thinking twice shows the
11, para. 2). Because the village of Umuofia is widely feared, Mbaino peacefully presents a fifteen year old boy and a virgin to Umuofia as retribution for the killing, and it is decided the boy, Ikemefuna, will stay with Okonkwo until the elders decide his fate. “Ikemefuna's stay in Okonkwo's home was supposed to be a temporary arrangement -- until the clan decided what was to be done with him -- but he ended up living as a member of the family for three years” (Akwani, 2011, para. 11). Okonkwo places Ikemefuna in the home of his most senior wife, who is also the mother of Okonkwo’s oldest son, Nwoye.