Okonkwo thinks he is the owner of his household and he shows no mercy to anyone who angers him. “He ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives…lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness.” (Achebe, Chapter 2, p.8). Okonkwo beats his children and wives because of his temper which is influenced by the Igbo society; he puts on a hard exterior because he is afraid of being weak and unsuccessful. At one point, he attempts to kill his second wife with a gun because he thinks she is the cause of a tree’s death. In order to prove his power and strength, without thinking of the consequences, Okonkwo beats his youngest wife during the week of peace - a week when the village celebrates peace and who ever disrupts the peace will be punished by Ala, the earth goddess (Lycos, online). “His first two wives ran out in great alarm pleading with him that it was the sacred week. But Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half-way through, not even for the fear of a goddess.” (Achebe, Chapter 4, p.21). Okonkwo lives in a male dominant society where men are pressured to be strong and successful; because of these influences, Okonkwo develops an inner
Culture and Worldviews Culture is a way of life. It can be defined as a group of people linked by geographical location, ethnicity, gender or age. Culture can be reflected through language, clothing, food, behavior, spirituality and traditions. The behavioral patterns developed through culture are difficult to change. Cultures are formed
Culture is the characteristics of a group of people defined by language, cuisine, religion social habits music and art. There are many different types of culture including western culture, eastern culture, African culture and many more. Culture is influenced by the groups of people that make up the country (Zimmermann, 2012). The term culture was first used by an English Anthropologist named Edward B. Tyler. It was first mentioned in 1871 in his book named ‘Primitive Culture’. He stated that culture is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. Since then culture is the main focus of anthropology.
Okonkwo has three wives, who are the primary female figures in Things Fall Apart. His three wives each hold varying roles of importance in the household just as they do in the novel. The characterization of Ekwefi, Okonkwo's second wife, almost seems insignificant to one reading from a patriarchal standpoint, but when reevaluated, one will find that she is a well of knowledge, love, and fierce independence. Although she was married to another
Okonkwo sees women as weak and dependant on men. He believes that having sympathy and any other emotion besides anger is effeminating. Okonkwo frequently uses “woman” as an insult. When contradicted at one of the village meetings by another man he says, “This meeting is for men.” (4.1) Okonkwo believes calling a man a women will “kill a man’s spirit.” (4.1) It is easy to see that Okonkwo’s harsh reaction shows he has insecurity. He sees letting himself be contradicted as feminine and verbally strikes back in order to dispel any doubts about Okonkwo’s masculinity. This scene is near the beginning of the novel, thus there is little to show how significant this foreshadowing is to explaining Okonkwo’s character.
I believe culture is the attitudes and feelings a group of people share. Culture can include practices like rituals and customs like religion. It is how you eat, drink, and speak. Culture can be either tacit or explicit. Tacit is very much like an unspoken behavior, it is something people lack words for. Explicit culture can be spoken or written. No matter what category culture falls into it truly makes us different from one another. It is everywhere shaping people all around the world every day.
The following reworking of Axtell's definition may make it more accessible and useful: A culture is the body of ideas, ways of looking at the world, values, and standards for conduct and behavior that a given people or nation hold in common. It includes the range of meanings that people assign to their own perceptions and behavior, as well as to the natural world around them. We can define the elements of that culture, and understand how they fit together as a culture, by examining that people's customs, language, religion, material artifacts, and social and political institutions.
What is culture? Culture is something you and a group of people share that are similar to one another. A culture is a way of life for a group of people and their behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them. The language we speak, the art, literature, and the heritage we are proud of, our food, our festivals, and our customs and traditions together form our culture. They
Agreed upon by almost all of Umofia, participating in storytelling that did not depict violence and bloodshed was considered an event for women. When a man, or even a boy, was seen telling or listening to stories that were not about violence, they were automatically depicted as weak, and that they were not at all manly. “That was the kind of story that Nwoye loved. But he knew that they were for foolish women and children, and his father wanted him to be a man. Nwoye is a perfect example of this, Nwoye is very lazy, he has no motivation, and that is seen as not at all manly. When Nwoye is seen listening to feminine stories, it is not a surprise to anybody, because he was already seen as feminine. It was disappointing to his father Okonkwo though, because Okonkwo’s biggest fear was being seen as weak and feminine by others, and he wanted his son to be like
Okonkwo's fear of being perceived as weak tragically leads to him to be unnecessarily violent and excessively prideful. These two fatal flaws lead to Okonkwo’s own emotional isolation, and his inevitable downfall. Driven by the fear of being seen as weak and emasculated, Okonkwo exhibits hyper masculinity and rage. Although this behavior initially leads to success in the patriarchal society of Umofia, rage is his greatest bane: it masks his compassion and pusillanimity. Onkonkwo’s obsession to never appear feminine is driven to the extreme. He denies affection even to his own family, “never show[ing] any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger. To [Okonkwo] show[ing] affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength.” (pg. 28). Okonkwo whose “whole life [is] dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness.” (pg. 13) suppress his compassion in order to appear important and manly. Ironically this creates a stark juxtaposition between his own fear and his position as an alpha male. Rather than being masculine and courageous, Okonkwo just creates tension within his family and within himself. The pinnacle of this extreme hypermasculinity is when Okonkwo ignores the wisdom of the elder Ezeudu, and violently kills his “son” Ikamafuna: “As the man who had cleared his throat drew up and raised his machete, Okonkwo looked away. He had heard Ikamafuna cry “My father, they have killed me!”
Okonkwo took his struggles to the extreme. A boy called Ikemefuna came to stay with Okonkwo and his family. Okonkwo and his family grew close to Ikemefuna and so did he. Nwoye considered Okonkwo his father figure because Nwoye did not have a father. Nwoye became best friends with Okonkwo’s son Nwoye. One day a group of Village elders from all nine villages came to okonkwo’s house and let him know that Ikemefuna was to be killed. The next day they all went out together along with Ikemefuna and as they were walking, one of the men raised his machete and struck him down. “My father, they have killed me!” As he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak”(Achebe 61) Okonkwo throughout the whole book doesn’t act the way he wants to scared he might be though weak and not manly. Okonkwo blocks off his emotions quite a lot. Okonkwo feels disappointed with his son but he is very proud of his daughter, yet he doesn’t want to admit it to her so he takes it out on her mother. He had wished that his daughter were to be a boy so he can be proud of her and praise her but he does not want to acknowledge a female.
Women Roles in Igbo Life Many women are underestimated especially in the Igbo life. Women in the Igbo life suffer great losses in the novel but they also, in certain circumstances, hold tremendous power which is most likely to be expected from a couple of women. In Things Falls Apart, the
The cause and effect of Unoka towards Okonkwo’s behavior. Children are always greatly influenced by their parents. In Chinua Achebe's, “Things Fall Apart,” the main character Okonkwo is shaped dramatically by the actions of his father.His fathers generally idleness,gentleness, and lack of titles, were all traits that Okonkwo despised and avoided.
He often "wish[es] she [Ezinma] were a boy."(122) For his son, "he wanted Nwoye to grow into a tough young man capable of ruling his... household." (37) The failure of his son to live up to Okonkwo's expectations for him are another factor in Okonkwo's own innate need to be exceptionally masculine.
Packed with patriarchal superiority, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart focuses on protagonist Okonkwo and his desire to live his life as a strong, masculine figure with a title worth showing off. This Nigerian novel provides an inside view of the oppression women faced in nineteenth century Igbo culture and the lengths to which men were willing to go to avoid appearing feminine. Criticizing Achebe’s novel through a feminist lens makes abundantly clear the unbalanced relationship between the sexes in the western African nation. Things Fall Apart showcases the accepted cultural norm of viewing women as inferior in society by judging feminine qualities to be of less worth than masculine qualities, treating women as property to be done with as the males see fit, and forcing women to live in fear of being heavily abused if they do not follow the commands of their husbands.