The Oxford Dictionary Defines “Great” As Being “Of An Extent,

810 WordsJan 30, 20174 Pages
The Oxford dictionary defines “great” as being “of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above average.” After reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, I cannot confidently state that Okonkwo is considerably above average. However, being great isn’t such a black and white matter. There is plenty of grey area, and one does not have to be flawless to be great. Unfortunately, Okonkwo’s best traits do not outnumber his worst ones. Okonkwo is rash and in no way understanding to those in his family or in the village. At his worst, he is so frigid in his Ibo people’s customs and afraid of looking weak that he physically harms people. Okonkwo also has no respect for anyone’s individuality and cannot accept change. Subsequently, by this…show more content…
Okonkwo invites him to eat with him in the hut and is proud of his manly demeanor. The Oracle however declares that the boy must be killed and Okonkwo makes it his job to carry this task out. Okonkwo betrays his adopted son by cutting him with a machete from behind, and his reasoning was that “He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe 61). Ikemefuna had called this man his father and yet Okonkwo killed him. Okonkwo killed his young adopted son to maintain his status among the Ibo people. Okonkwo does shows seem saddened by his death and the Achebe says, “now and then a cold shiver descended on his head and spread down his body” (Achebe 63). This sign of his remorse to me however cannot outweigh his cruel action. Okonkwo’s most trusted friend even says in response to this murderous action that, “What you have done will not please the Earth. It is the kind of action for which the goddess wipes out whole families” (Achebe 67). I cannot define a man as great after he killed his son; I can more readily describe this man as a traitor. Okonkwo has set views on what a boy should act like. In his mind a man should be strong, a fighter, and fearless; this description of Okonkwo’s version of a man is everything his son is not. Nwoye is affectionate, creative, emotional, and likes women’s stories. Okonkwo considers Nwoye’s strengths to be weaknesses saying, “to show affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was
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