The Power of Subjugation in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe

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Okonkwo in “Things Fall Apart” utilises direct imperatives to instruct those subordinate to him. This is seen throughout the text, such as when Okonkwo orders one of his wives to ‘get me a pot’ and ‘to leave the child alone’. The language used by Okonkwo serves as a tool of subjugation, with the coarse use of direct imperatives and harsh remarks serves to overpower them to the point of them becoming his slaves. Hugh as a societal and familial patriarch is presented in light of a failing patriarch, such as the way in which he represents a static, inward-looking, self-satisfied way of life, whose response to modern outside influences is to ignore them. For example, he is in denial about the colonisation that’s taking place, to the degree…show more content…
Hugh’s attitude towards Owen is one which is more positive and kind then that compared to Manus. Owen is considered ‘handsome’ and is always ‘dressed smartly – a city man’. ‘His manner is easy and charming: everything he does is invested with consideration and enthusiasm’. This is a sharp contrast to Manus, who is introduced as ‘pale-faced, lightly built, intense, and works as an unpaid assistant... His clothes are shabby; and when he moves we see that he is lame’. Thus, Hugh is socially prejudiced, due to social class and political opinion. Any request or interjection by Owen is seen positively by Hugh, such as when Owen asks his father if he is ‘interrupting’ and if he can ‘bring them in’, Hugh replies ‘certainly’. The change in attitude puts Hugh in a bad light, because if he wants to be a successful societal patriarch, he needs to assume control over Owen and the English. The introduction of the English doesn’t seem to affect Hugh in anyway, as he remains his usual self, not possessing any desire to become a dominant figure. He still gets continuously drunk and is so preoccupied with his own importance, that he shows no interest in major figures such as William Wordsworth. ‘Wordsworth …no. I’m afraid were not familiar with your literature’ and ‘English couldn’t really express us’. Friel does this to show how the Irish were resistant to a degree of cultural colonisation. His ignorance is amplified when he takes the
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