Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart

1314 Words6 Pages
Chinua Achebe masterpiece “Things Fall Apart” (1959) is the classic story of Okonkwo, a young man who strives to be revered by his village and family but because of his own internal character flaws meets his own demise. In the Igbo culture, family traditions are an important narrative throughout the novel. Okonkwo, the protagonist character of this story, begins with many attributes of what would be concluded as a hero with his cultural society. He is hard working, a material provider, feared and yet respected by his fellow tribesman. Yet, when dissecting the character more closely, you will in fact see that Okonkwo is not the criterion of a hero and eventually becomes an outcast within his tribe. By understanding the father-son…show more content…
The author illustrates a clear picture of a man more concerned with playing his flute and drinking plum wine. A father who ignored his patriarchal duties and instead was deeply in debt and unable to care for his wife and children. In a cultural society where a son was to inherit a barn, a title, a wife and crop; the author describes a much different life for Okonkwo (Achebe, 1959). In addition, based on the religious culture of the Igbo tribe, Unoka was considered to have bad chi, an ill-fated death of evil fortune and a dishonorable burial. Thus, Okonkwo hated his father for these attributes and swore to be the opposite of him. Achebe articulates this fear by saying, “He was possessed by the fear of his father’s contemptible life and shameful death” (Achebe, 1959, p. 18).
In the Igbo society, it was important that a man portray very masculine qualities. So much so, that throughout the story of Okonkwo, Achebe emphasizes the heroic accomplishments of Okonkwo and the traditional cultural values in which he lives by. In the spiritual system of the Igbo people is the concept of “chi”. Similar to ones “Ora”, it is believed that everyone and everything has chi; a fundamental force of creation (John, 2016). Okonkwo believed that a man’s chi coincided with a man saying yes to greatness (Beckman, 2002). Okonkwo possessed what he believed to be good chi, he possessed all the qualities of hero. The narrator describes Okonkwo as a tall man with a

More about Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart

Get Access