The Falling Apart of Okonkwo's Personal Life and the Culture of the Igbo People Illustrated in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart. Such an intriguing title, because everything will eventually fall apart. Chinua Achebe's choice of a title may lead some to confusion, because throughout his book many things fall apart, from Okonkwo's personal life achievements and emotions to the town of Umuofia as its people split, and perhaps the biggest thing to fall apart, the very culture of the Igbo people. One could focus on any one of these topics and trace the complexity of it's fall from previous glory to the eventual ruin at the end of Achebe's novel. Studying the overall book provides a much more interesting conclusion, however, than simply tracking the different ways people or the town change, as instead it is possible to gain insight into Achebe's goals …show more content…
Okonkwo started with what his father, Unoka, had left him. Unoka left the legacy of "his son [...] was ashamed of him" (Achebe 8.) He left Okonkwo "[having] taken no title and [being] heavily in debt" (8.) However, Okonkwo was able to rise above his being "ashamed" of his father, because despite being left "heavily in debt" he had become "a wealthy farmer" (8) and despite his father not having any titles, he had "won fame [...] and he had taken two titles [...] he was already one of the greatest men of his time" (8.) Okonkwo was able to become successful, despite the disgrace his father had left as his legacy, and because of this Okonkwo received a boy to take care of, Ikemefuna. However, when Okonkwo must allow the boy to be killed, he sabotages his own emotional health by going with the execution party. This moment shows how Igbo culture was not perfect, as this is not a problem within the culture caused by Europeans, but is just an unfortunate part of what their traditional culture is. Okonkwo was warned by Ogbuefi Ezeudu, a man considered wise and given high respect, to not kill "that boy" because "he calls [Okonkwo] father" (57.) Oknonkwo's own insecurities are highlighted just as Ikemefuna is about to be killed, when Ikemefuna cries, "'My father, they have killed me!' as he ran towards [Okonkwo]. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak" (61.) Okonkwo
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