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,
Okonkwo had a very tough childhood as he hated being the son of a lazy and improvident father, causing him to hate anything related to his father. A similar comparison can be made of his wife Ojiugo as “Okonkwo was provoked to justifiable anger by his youngest wife, who went to plait her hair at her friend’s house and did not return early enough to cook the afternoon meal”, showing that Ojiugo is just as irresponsible as Okonkwo’s father Unoka. Many comparisons can be made of Unoka to Ojiugo which has made Okonkwo resent their irresponsibility.
In order to not become like his father, Okonkwo consciously strives to be prosperous, violent, resourceful, unable to show “soft” emotion, and denies music orientation. “And no Okonkwo was ruled by one passion—to hate everything that his
This story maintained a constant theme of conflict. Nwoye, lives in perpetual fear of his father. Okonkwo constantly chastises his son and finds a fault with everything he
Nwoye’s unavoidable decision of converting cultures was lead by his search for acceptance and in hopes of escaping his immoral religion and Okonkwo’s high expectations for him as a man. Okonkwo is not satisfied with Nwoye’s sensitive and slothful personality After Ikemefuna’s unjustified death, Nwoye loses respect for Okonkwo and
In Okonkwo’s case however, he is isolated from his own family because of his lack of emotion, which is also considered to be part of their traditions. Okonkwo never demonstrated his feeling towards anything because he considers this unmanly which is believed to be not part of their traditions. In contrast to Tita, Okonkwo started opening up to his family in the middle/end part of the novel. For example, when his daughter Ezinma is sick, Okonkwo worriedly makes medicine and does everything in his power to save his favorite child. Also, Okonkwo follows the priestess Chielo and Ekwefi when the priestess unexpectedly kidnaps Ezinma. For the second time, Okonkwo publicly displays emotions and compassion towards Ezinma.
Furthermore, Okonkwo’s fear of being weak and resembling his father, forces him to act without compassion, and he suffers the “loss” of his son, Nwoye. Like Unoka, Nwoye is effeminate and sensitive. After Ikemefuna dies, Nwoye notices that he feels the same as when he saw twin babies left to die in the Evil Forest, “Then something had given way inside him [Nwoye]” (62). Nwoye is an innocent child who is baffled by the cruel rituals of his clan. He loses respect for Okonkwo and the traditions of his clan. He is unable to forgive his father for killing his adopted brother and unable to forgive his clan for allowing Okonkwo to do so. When the missionaries come to Umuofia Nwoye is intrigued by Christianity, a better way of life, where he feels relief. Strict and inflexible, Okonkwo is angered by Nwoye when he finds out that he converted to Christianity, because Nwoye abandoned their ancestors and he thinks the missionaries are effeminate. Later, Okonkwo tells his five other sons of Nwoye: “You have all seen the great abomination of your brother. Now he is no longer my son or your brother. I will only have a son who is a man, who will hold his head up among my people” (172). Okonkwo disowns his eldest son, Nwoye, because he betrays the clan. Okonkwo’s inability to be compassionate and understanding, drives Nwoye away, and he loses his eldest son.
““Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.” --George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones. Nwoye’s sense of identity was challenged with the
Okonkwo life is “dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (Achebe 13). When Okonkwo was a boy, his playmates teased him calling, saying that his father was agbala. Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, was lazy. He did not work on his farm; he died in great debt. He did not acquire a single title. He did not have a barn to pass down to his son. Unoka is a type of man who is scorned in Umofia. He is seen as weak and effeminate. As Okonkwo grows older, he is determined not become a failure like his father. His father was weak; he will be strong. His father was lazy; he will be hard-working. Okonkwo earned his fame by defeating the reigning wrestling champion. Okonkwo diligently plants yam, building a successful farm. He builds himself an obi, has three wives and many children. His fame “rested on solid personal achievements” (Achebe 3). Okonkwo will not let one womanly trait sully his reputation. Therefore, he “hate[d] everything that his father Unoka had loved” (Achebe 13). One of these was gentleness. Okonkwo refuses to show any signs of emotion, except his temper. He
King Lear by William Shakespeare and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe are works of writing that both consist of a hierarchy; an existing order in which way society is determined, which is later damaged. In King Lear by William Shakespeare, King Lear has decided to split up his
Chinua Achebe unfolds a variety of interesting connections between characters in the Novel Things Fall Apart. Relationships with parents, children and inner self are faced differently, however the attitude that Okonkwo gave them determined what kind of outcome he generated from these relations. Okonkwo looks at everything through his violent and manly perspective and is afraid to show his real feelings because he thinks that he may be thought out as weak and feminine this paranoid attitude lead him to self-destruction.
a) Discuss Okonkwo’s relationship with Nwoye and Ezinma. Okonkwo treated his son and daughter very differently. The child-father relationship between Okonkwo and Nwoye was a distant and strained one while Okonkwo exhibited another type of feeling towards Ezinma which is filled with care and concern. This was due to the fact that Nwoye “was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness” whereas Ezinma was thought to have the “right spirit” and “alone understood [Okonkwo’s] every mood”.
Another important character is Nwoye, who is Okonkwo's first son. Unlike Okonkwo, Nwoye has no work ethic and is constantly "[causing] his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness" (Achebe 13). Okonkwo tries to beat Nwoye into being more hardworking but it does nothing. Nwoye is more womanly than Okonkwo's because "he [prefers] the stories that his mother [tells]" (Achebe 53). "When a mother-cow is chewing grass its young watch its mouth" is used in the development of the one characteristic both Nwoye and Okonkwo share. The proverb means children learn from what their parents do. Okonkwo follows in his father’s footsteps by not being the father figure his son needs. Nwoye follows in his father’s footsteps by forsaking Okonkwo. Okonkwo forsakes his father, Unoka, because he is weak by showing affection and he “[is]… a debtor” (Achebe 4). Nwoye forsakes his father because Okonkwo is too harsh. Both Okonkwo and Nwoye try to lead very different lives than there fathers. Okonkwo lives the opposite of Unoka by being "a wealthy farmer and [having] two barns full of yams" and being hardworking (Achebe 8), while Unoka "was… a debtor" and "was lazy" (Achebe 4). Nwoye lives the opposite of his father by being "among the missionaries" (Achebe 143), while Okonkwo strongly opposes the church.
Nwoye is Okonkwo’s eldest son who Okonkwo considers unforgivably emasculate and very much like his father, Unoka. As a child, Nwoye usually receives the brunt of his father’s criticism and remains feeling unwanted. Eventually, Ikemefuna comes to fill that void and Nwoye, in his adoration of his adoptive brother, begins to takes after him. Also In a take strange way, Ikemefuna fills the role of both father and brother for Nwoye, providing him with a peer to share his thoughts and a person to look up to. As Ikemefuna rubs off on Nwoye, Okonkwo begins to find more favor with both of the boys. As a result , the three begin to form an unbreakable bond, or so they thought.
Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Okonkwo, as presented by Chinua Achebe in the novel Things Fall Apart, wished to be revered by all as a man of great wealth, power and control--the antithesis of his father. Okonkwo was driven by the need to exhibit utmost control over himself and others; he was an obsessive and insecure man.