Okonkwo Character Analysis

744 Words Jan 27th, 2012 3 Pages
From Warrior to Ruin

In Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, the protagonist, represents the manly ideal in a native African society of the Igbo that puts great value on masculinity. He prides himself on the fact that he became a well-respected member of the community with little help from others. However, he is not without flaws. When European powers begin colonizing Africa, Okonkwo finds his way of life disrupted. His greatest challenge becomes accepting the beliefs of others and relating to the majority. Okonkwo resists change, trying to hold onto the old way of life. In Things Falls Apart, Okonkwo proves himself to be a notorious anti-hero as he struggles with his own self-image, rules his household with fear, and
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The book states, “He had a slight stammer and whenever he was angry and could not get his words out fast enough, he would use his fists,” (4). He is an impatient man who tends to use his brute strength to intimidate and prove his point. In another example when Okonkwo is beating his wife, Ojiugo, “. . . he had forgotten it was the Week of Peace . . . But Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half-way through. . .” (26). His emotions rule him, rather than his head. Okonkwo awards few glimpses of passionate emotion apart from anger or bloodlust. His household is one ruled by fear of his outbursts, the brunt of which his wives typically bear. In the late 1800s, powerful European countries took to the seas to colonize Africa. They came with a few objectives in mind: gold, glory, and god. Christian missionaries permeated the villages, setting up churches and establishing relations within the tribe. Okonkwo’s clan was not exempt. “There were many men and women in Umuofia who did not feel as strongly as Okonkwo about the new dispensation. The white man had indeed brought a lunatic religion, but he had also built a trading store and for the first time . . . much money flowed into Umuofia,” (146). Okonkwo takes an emotionally-driven, defensive stance against the white men. He is disturbed by the rate at which their lives are changing. “Okonkwo was deeply grieved . . . He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he mourned for the
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