Okonkwo Masculinity Analysis

Decent Essays

Things Fall Apart, written by Chinua Achebe, depicts the life of a clansman of Umuofia, known as Okonkwo. Okonkwo was one of the wealthiest and respected men of his tribe. He gained respect as a great wrestler in his clan, and worked to surpass his father, Unoka’s image, which had been sullied by unpaid debts, and his work-shy attitude. Unoka was no man to Okonkwo, for Unoka had not taken any titles in his clan, therefore, he was nothing more than a woman in Okonkwo’s eyes. In such a patriarchal society being called a woman was disgraceful, and Okonkwo wanted nothing to do with anything womanly, and in turn he wanted nothing of his father, including any traits he carried, righteous or not. Okonkwo’s twisted view of masculinity and lack of compassion creates high expectations. When Okonkwo begins to see that his clan, family, and he himself cannot reach his expectations of strength, he will have nothing the turn to, but the noose that fate has made for him. The Igbo proverb “The thought that led a man to truncate his own existence was not conceived in a day” applies to Okonkwo’s suicide, which had begun with his twisted ideology of masculinity. The thoughts that led Okonkwo to commit suicide originate within his perception of weakness tied to his father; he sees this weakness in his son, in his tribe, and in himself. Okonkwo is disappointed in his son Nwoye for becoming so much like Unoka, he is ashamed of his clan for conforming to the views of the Christians, and he is

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