Things fall apart is a classic novel written around the turn of the century, the novel focuses on the protagonist who we can also call a hero, Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a wealthy and respected leader within the Igbo tribe of Umuofia in eastern Nigeria. Strong individual with a passionate belief in all the values and traditions of his people. Chinua Achebe presents Okonkwo as a particular kind of tragic protagonist, a great man who carries the fate of his people. Okonkwo is a man who is inflexible and driven by his Abiding faith to uphold his cultural way of life; yet, he experiences a life of great tragedy. Okonkwo’s life in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart appears tragic according to Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. Okonkwo is a warrior, a wrestler, and a man with personal wealth. Okonkwo has three wives and ban full of yams, so he was able to provide food for his family members. Despite the amount of success and power Okonkwo embodies, he is bound to face tragedy through fear of weakness, the loss of his beloved Ikemefuna, and his decision to commit suicide.
Okonkwo’s fear of weakness is greatly influenced by his father Unoka. Unoka is a lazy man who did not portray the “manly” figure in which other father embodies. Unoka did not attain any title, nor did he own a yam barn like other men. Unoka is described as “a failure, he was poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat. People laughed at him because he was a loafer, and never paid back. But Unoka was
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White. White everywhere. White men everywhere. White men with new idea everywhere. These are the thoughts running wild in a person’s mind who has never seen a person with white skin and when they begin to bring new things and ideas their thoughts begin to build. In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe what seemed to be a normal day in Umuofia turned into a day of new faces and later to come, a new clan. As white men arrived they brought many things from their culture and at the beginning they seemed to be making a difference for a more positive society but readers quickly find out that these things were only brought to manipulate the Ibo people into doing the desired actions of the white men.
Firstly, Okonkwo’s fear of being akin to his father plays a major role in characterising Okonkwo. This fear, in particular, is one of the earliest, in-depth portrayals of what motivates Okonkwo’s hard working nature and determination. Okonkwo’s distaste for his father, or men akin to his father, is first revealed in the characterisation of his father, Unoka. The quote: “He had no patience for unsuccessful men. He had no patience for his father” (ch1, pg3) shows the comparison of Okonkwo’s father to an unsuccessful man. This comparison allows the reader to infer that the Unoka held traits, such as inertia, and idleness, which made him unproductive. This is built upon further with the quote: “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness... It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father… And so Okonkwo was ruled by one passion – to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness.” (Ch2, pg 12). This use of direct characterisation to portray Okonkwo’s father reveals what Okonkwo is afraid of becoming by describing the attitudes displayed by Unoka that Okonkwo, therefore, avidly tries to avoid. This allows the reader to infer a reason for
To begin with, Okonkwo’s sense of identity before colonization was caused by his fear of weakness and failure. For example, “Okonkwo sprang from his bed, pushed back the bolt on his door and ran into Ekwefi’s hut” (Achebe 76). He has a difficult time interacting with his own kids and showing love for them. The reason for the lack of affection is all as a result of Unoka’s choices and how Okonkwo grew up. Moreover, he thinks that violence is the key to everything and it solves all his problems. Achebe writes, “It filled him with fire as it had always done from his youth. He trembled with the desire to conquer and subdue” (42). Incidents happened where
What would you do if Christianity came and took over your world? In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, describes a man who was affected by Christianity which not only destroyed him but also his family and his tribe. Okonkwo is the main character who faces the demise of his world when the missionaries came in and took over his world. Okonkwo is a very independent, impatient African leader and is affected by Christianity, impacting the way he is accepted back into Umofia or the way he lives. Achebe 's description of life in the village after colonization, helps to create a setting that condemns colonization. In the Caryl Phillips interview, Achebe believes that “Conrad is for the colonizing mission, and he concedes that the novel, in part,
In the story Things Fall Apart the author, Chinua Achebe, uses the character Okonkwo to show that a man’s hubris can one day lead to a terrible fate. Achebe does this by having the main character Okonkwo struggle with keeping his life together. As Victor Uchendu talks about life in The Igbo World “is an equilibrium that is constantly threatened, and sometimes actually disturbed by natural and social calamities”(Uchendu 227). In the beginning of the story Okonkwo starts off as the strongest character when he defeats “Amalinize the Cat” (Achebe 3). This shows the reader that Okonkwo is the strongest and is determined to stay the strongest. Achebe uses certain events later in the story to foreshadow that Okonkwo will soon meet a terrible fate by having him kill Ikemefuna, by having him get kicked out of his village, by having the British change his son, and by displaying his rage and despair at the end of the story.
Growing up in an environment where one’s parents and society restrict the behavior of that individual, can be a very challenging situation to be in. This was so for Nwoye. Raised in the Igbo culture, social order was said to demand conformity. It was a culture where he was forced to act a certain way, or be punished by his father Okonkwo, which wasn’t a type of lifestyle Nwoye would want to be living all his life. The book, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe uses Nwoye to exemplify the outcomes in a relationship, of a father forcing masculine and cultural tradition values his son, Nwoye. Although, Nwoye’s curiosity on the Igbo culture and will to become the person that he wants to be, comes before him even if it calls for going against
Okonkwo "had not patience with unsuccessful men. He had no patience with his dad" (Achebe 4). His ultimate fear was to be compared to his father who was lazy, owed debts and was unable to provide for his family. Okonkwo viewed his father as a useless, feminine and fearful person. And as a result, he worked hard to become the most fearless, hardworking and successful man in his tribe.
In “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe is a book that represents the causes and effects and the best and the worst of the main character, Okonkwo. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo always displays being brave yet being harsh with people and himself. Okonkwo displays his personality various times throughout the novel. Because his behavior, a lot of events take a major turn in the novel. His pride in his tribe/religion, the act of keeping titles, and trying not to become his father, are three reasons of why he acts the way he is.
Chinua Achebe’s portrayal of the role of women is significant because it disproves the stereotypes of non-western society. In Igbo society, women have many roles both in the household and in the village. “Igbo women [have] rights and freedoms”, such as “cook[ing] for themselves and rais[ing] their own children” (Ohadike xxxii). Because women are tasked with these important duties, women are very important. In Igbo society, sometimes women have more freedom than in other societies (such as western).
Chinua Achebe’s first novel, “Things Fall Apart” takes place in Umuofia, Nigeria in the 19th century. Okonkwo, the protagonist, was a respected, strong leader of the Ibo clan providing for his three wives and their children. His father was a failure, making Okonkwo’s greatest fear being seen as a weak failure, but this also makes Okonkwo strive for success. “His whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness“ (2. 12). With his drive to succeed, Okonkwo managed to make many poor decisions resulting in unwanted consequences. Okonkwo is an exact representation of a western tragic hero in the novel, “Things Fall Apart.”
In the book, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe presents the main character, Okonkwo, to us as a tragic hero. We watch Okonkwo progress through the book, and observe as his tragic flaw leads to his ultimate downfall. Obierika, Okonkwo’s best friend, always stands by Okonkwo and serves as Okonkwo’s voice of reason as they face the British colonization of their villages. The way Achebe presents these characters to helps shape the overall theme of the novel: the interpretations people have of one another’s culture can lead to their downfall when they clash. More specifically, the misinterpretations the Igbo tribe had of British intentions led to their downfall when the cultures clashed in Things Fall Apart.
Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, is a tale about Okonkwo, erstwhile respected warrior who is troubled by his father’s actions, which causes Okonkwo to make unscrupulous decisions with his life. The novel begins with Okonkwo, an extremely skilled wrestler that was recognized throughout the nine villages especially after he defeated Amalinze the Cat. Okonkwo was tall, massive, and had wide nose that gave him a very severe look. Okonkwo disgraced his father Unoka, because to the fact that he was particularly lazy and profligate person. Unoka was a failure in life for the reason that he was poor, he barely could feed his wife and children. Unoka could not receive help due to the fact that he was a debtor and refused to pay people back. Ogbuefi Ezeudu, a respected elder and powerful orator, announces “Those sons of wild animals have dared to murder a daughter of Umuofia.” Umuofia was feared by the other villages because of their skilled military. Okonkwo arrives at Mbaino, in a settlement Okonkwo is given a young virgin and a young boy named Ikemefuna because one of Mbaino murdered a girl from Umuofia. Okonkwo is chosen to represent the Umuofia because he’s a vicious warrior. Since Okonkwo fears failure and weakness for the reasons of his father Unoka, Okonkwo ruled his house with an iron fist. Okonkwo becomes a father figure to Ikemefuna who also builds a strong relationship with Okonkwo’s son Nwoye. Ikemefuna lives with Okonkwo and his family for three years until such
Chinua Achebe, the author of Things Fall Apart, portrays the significant characteristics of a powerful leader who has yet made some decisions that lead him to his inevitable self- destruction. Okonkwo, the protagonist of the story, ended up losing everything that ever mattered him. He saw no need to keep living an empty life which was once full of joy, wealth, and family. Through his leadership, fear, and exile Okonkwo is portrayed as the stereotypical Tragic Hero.
In the novel “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe teaches us that two cultures are unable to thrive together when they are forcing themselves onto the other through his use of the main protagonist, Okonkwo. This novel, “Things Fall Apart”, is about the African culture of the Ibo people being invaded by western influences in which Okonkwo is trapped within the feud. This book depicts differences between the two colliding cultures, Okonkwo’s culture, and his response to the newly changing environment to present Achebe’s theme.
When outsiders encounter a culture unlike their own they tend to make misconceptions about that culture. The British see the Igbo culture as dark and gory. Achebe sees it as a fully functioning society. The Nigerian community may seem odd and not functional when in actuality it is functional. For a society to be functional, it must have a culture as well as properties of a civilization. The British judge it as dysfunctional, but this is irrelevant to whether the society truly is or isn’t functional. The Nigerian society fulfills many, if not all, of the properties of a functioning society. Despite the negative stereotyping of the Igbo culture by the British, Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart shows a fully functioning society.