Following Nwoye’s departure from Okonkwo’s Mbanta compound to become a Christian, Okonkwo sits in his hut and ponders the state of himself and the state of his son, where he has a temporary reminiscence of an old powerful nickname. Achebe tells us,
Change is a reoccurring theme throughout history. It destroys and creates. It displaces and introduces. It can cause death and life. The movement of imperialism in Africa brought great change to the native tribal life. Forcing the indigenous people to turn away from their century-old traditions caused violent rifts between the European settlers and the tribes, as well as internal problems between once amiable members of the Ibo culture. With the introduction of the foreign Western Society in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the tribe’s life and ideals are drastically altered as the new ethics and principles collide with the old traditions and laws, causing the members of the society to either adapt or be crushed underneath the foot of colonialism. Achebe’s character, Okonkwo, was impacted immensely by the cultural collision, as his previous way of life was pulverized before his eyes, and he found no reason to live any longer.
The world is full of cultural collisions. Every day people meet other with different worldviews. This concept of cultural collision, is shown perfectly though Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. In the story it is the cultural collision, of the introduction of Western Ideas into the ibo society, that causes Achebe’s characters to grow and change. One character in particular is forced to reevaluate his sense of identity because of the cultural collision. This is the character of Okonkwo. The collision challenges Okonkwo’s sense of self, as a religious leader or an Egwugwu, as a leader of his people, and as a man. It is Okonkwo’s response to these challenges, that shapes the meaning of the book of that as your world changes so must you or you
After Nwoye’s childhood, he discovers the trouble he has with pleasing his father, and Okonkwo always contradicts Nwoye about not having the same or even more status as Okonkwo had when he was his age. Nwoye will never be the “great farmer and great man” Okonkwo wants him to be, during society at this time, opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative was very admirable (33). With the type of negative feedback, Nwoye receives from his father saying that he will amount to nothing, shows how Nwoye develops insecurity with his identity as an Ibo citizen. Contradictingly, Okonkwo is very pleased and rather arrogant with his status in matter of the village. He is already one of the “greatest” men of his time starting from his youth when in Ibo culture age was respected. The setting of Nigeria plays a major role in the identity of Nwoye and Okonkwo seeing that prosperity for men at that time is having wealth and potent personality. Okonkwo was obviously successful in terms of riches; he owned a huge barn full with yams, the king of all crops, and has three wives. During this time Okonkwo lives a lush life and could not have been more proud of who he is identified as. Having the drive to accomplish significance in life, Okonkwo’s achievements were admired by most people in the village, showing “if a
Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart” chronicles the life of Okonkwo, a strong man whose existence is dominated by fear and anger, and the Ibo tribe, a people deeply rooted in cultural belief and tradition. As events unfold, Okonkwo’s carefully constructed world and the Ibo way of life collapses. The story of Okonkwo’s fall from a respected and feared leader of the Ibo tribe to an outcast who dies in disgrace dramatizes his inability to evolve beyond his personal beliefs, affecting the entire Ibo tribe beyond measure. The “things” that fall apart in Achebe’s novel are Okonkwo’s life – his ambition, dreams, family unity and material wealth – and the Ibo way of life – their beliefs, culture and values.
The only thing he (Okonkwo) fears most is not ending up like his father, Unoka. However, Achebe ‘‘makes an insightful comment on the nature of masculinity through his representation of the tribal leaders. Achebe basically, was conducive in creating four alter egos of Okonkwo: one of which were the masculinity; next of his fatherly abilities; and the last of his family progress and four of his likelihood of success’’ (Achebe.179). My paper will explain how Okonkwo’s Masculinity from Achebe’s Things Fall Apart will be characterized by his fears, beliefs, and emotions for several reasons.
Through the character of Okonkwo, Achebe illustrates the dangers of being selfish. Although successful, Okonkwo is one of the most aggressively selfish men among the Igbo people based on his self-centered needs and desires. This characteristic is prevalent throughout the entirety of the novel, and there are always consequences to his actions. For example, Okonkwo is fond of calling men “women” to make himself look more masculine. He does this to Osugo in front of a group of men in a meeting. “Okonkwo knew how to kill a man’s spirit. Everybody at the kindred meeting took sides with Osugo when Okonkwo called him a woman” (Achebe 26). Since the other men sided with Osugo, Okonkwo’s punishment for this narcissistic outburst is embarrassment. Continuing,
“The Headstrong Historian” and Things Fall Apart forms a topic of what is good for one is bad for another. In Achebe’s novel, Okonkwo often thinks about the matter of his pride and not for his family or
Before imperialism, Okonkwo lives as a respected figure within his community. “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond” (Achebe 1.) He has many fine traits which cause him
He explores the use of proverbs, figures of speech and aphorisms to demonstrate the significance of their spirituality, social construct and hierarchy. As well, he displays the character transgression in Okonkwo, and how his mental decline foreshadowed his unfortunate future. Paralleling unfortunate futures, language and communication barriers between the Igbo and the European missionaries led to the collapse of the Igbo culture and the grave ultimatum; Okonkwo’s death. With all three in mind, proverbs are a very important aspect of the Igbo language and can demonstrate numerous societal customs and tell a story with few words. An appropriate quote that displays the importance of language, especially in Igbo culture is, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” - Nelson
In the tribe of Umuofia, Okonkwo is considered to be the “greatest men of his time”(Achebe 8), his characteristics fit the definition of an everyday hero, which is a man of distinguished courage, ability, and thought highly of for his brave deeds and noble qualities. Okonkwo is a well respected man in the tribe and rises to the top very quickly “like a brush-fire in the harmattan”(Achebe 3) and at a young age; he is muscular, vigorous, well respected, and wealthy. Achebe describes
Okonkwo is initially introduced as a proud, hardworking, successful warrior. He is described as "clearly cut out for great things" (6). But he is the son of a ne'er-do-well father; though genial and inoffensive, Unoka must certainly have been considered a failure. He is lazy and does not provide for his family. Not only is this disgraceful, but life-threatening as well. He is dependent on other members of the clan and must have been considered unsuccessful. Okonkwo chafes under such disgrace and his success is a consequence of his desire to be everything his father is not; society's vision of an exemplar citizen. The fact that Okonkwo is able to rise above his poverty and disgraceful paternity illustrates the Igbo's acceptance of individual free will. But Okonkwo's fate and his disharmony with his chi, family and clan are shown to cause his ultimate disgrace and death.
Chinua Achebe’s critically acclaimed novel Things Fall Apart tells the story of a decorated and powerful chief of the Igbo village tribe named Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a strong independent man who came up from nothing in his life and refused to return to earth as the same way he started, he believed he was destined for greatness. Perhaps Okonkwo’s most driving factor for this is his father died a beggar and he became disgusted how his father went out with no achievements or accomplishments to his name. Okonkwo is very prideful as a result of his humble upbringing and believes that the only way one can be successful is through Old Ways of the Igbo Tribe. As a result, Okonkwo is hell-bent
One of the most commonly asked questions about the novel Things Fall Apart is: why did Achebe choose a tragic hero, Okonkwo, as the main character in the story. According to Nnoromele, “A hero, in the Igbo cultural belief system, is one with great courage and strength to work against destabilizing forces of his community, someone who affects, in a special way, the destinies of others by pursuing his own. He is a man noted for special achievements. His life is defined by ambivalence, because his actions must stand in sharp contrast to ordinary behavior”(Nnoromele). In my opinion, he chose this type of hero to show the correlation between Okonkwo’s rise and fall in the Igbo society to the rise and fall of the Igbo culture itself. Many