Since Okonkwo stood out more than all the other men he was seen as Umuofia's most powerful man. Although Okonkwo is the most powerful man in Umuofia he also has weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is his father, he doesn’t wanna be a weak man and careless like his father. As the white missionaries moved in into their home land, the Igbo people who are unsure of how to react to these traditions either switched to their ways or stayed faithful to their faith. Many people became persuaded of the new religions authorities, however Okonkwo who is an warrior at heart refuses to accept the changes that were taking place in his community.
When Okonkwo and other tribe leaders are unjustly imprisoned, they are starved and kept hostage until the tribe pays dues for their release. Their time in captivity is told as, “the six men ate nothing throughout that day and the next. They were not even given any water to drink, and they could not go out to urinate...At night the messengers came in to taunt them and to knock their shaven heads together” (Achebe 195). The most venerable men in the community were being made a mockery of. According to Jennifer Gibb, English professor with a Master’s in English and a Bachelor’s in Sociology at Dixie State College, the arrest of Umuofia’s tribal leaders is “a pivotal point in the novel that signals the complete loss of indigenous rule” (Gibb 237). Paying money to the missionaries keeps money out of yam and other crop production; time spent combating the imperialism pervading their community also takes away from time that would usually be spent
Okonkwo achieves respect and high social status through his own heroic efforts despite being left with nothing but the dishonorable reputation of his “lazy and improvident” father. Toiling in the fields, enduring droughts, exhibiting fearless on the battlefield, and fueled by a burning desire to succeed, Okonkwo becomes a hero in Umuofia. Okonkwo’s success stems from his hard-work and perseverance, which he achieves in spite of his father’s shortcomings. He “lay[s] the foundations of a prosperous future” by slowly and painfully working like “one possessed” in order to escape “his father’s contemptible life and shameful death.” Okonkwo, so “possessed” with escaping the lingering reputation of his father, does anything in his power to earn
Okonkwo continually rejected the ways of his father, who was deeply indebted to other members of Umuofia, holding no titles, to the point where Okonkwo’s “whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (16). He transferred his fears into the context of Umuofia and the traits that society valued, but what was really the driving force in his decisions “was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father” (17). The values of Umuofia resembled the polar opposite of what Unoka was and Okonkwo twisted his motivations around in his mind and presented them to himself and the community as derived from Umuofia’s traditions. From this delusion, Okonkwo established his ultimate goal of becoming a revered member of the village, possessing many titles, and achieving anything necessary displaying his prominence in the community.
Before the arrival of European influence, villagers of Umuofia had a single option for a way of life. It was a place to be feared, dominated by war and violent practices. Ibo culture is centered on a patriarchal system based on hierarchy; the highest titles held by male egwugwu in the legal system and the osu at the bottom. The main character, Okonkwo, represents the ambition to strive for a higher position in society in order to gain status: “His life had been ruled by a great passion-to become one of the lords of the clan” (131). Another aspect in Ibo culture is the representation of women. They are undermined in order for men to achieve success; bride prices are used to able men to marry more than one wife and husbands are
His tragic downfall truly begins when his is sent away because of an accidental murder of a boy. Okonkwo and his family are exiled from the tribe for seven years and Okonkwo is stripped of the fruits of his hard work. While he is away the white missionaries move into the village. They preach against the culture and its violent ways, causing Okonkwo to become saturated with rage. Seven years later, Okonkwo is able to return. He plans to reestablish himself and his position with the help of his family. However, Umofia is not as it once was. The white men have moved in and dismantled the tribe with their laws and government. Okonkwo wishes to fight, but the clan does not agree with his suggestion. After realizing the fate of the village, Okonkwo chooses to take his life. He would rather die than watch everything he had worked for fall apart because of weak people. His tragic flaw, a fear of weakness, is so strong it destroyed him.
After a village elder had found what crime Okonkwo committed, he told Okonkwo that, “you are not a stranger in Umuofia. You know as well as I that our forefathers ordained that before we plant any crops in the earth, we should observe a week of peace in which a man does not say a harsh word to his neighbor” (30). The elder proceeded to give Okonkwo instructions on how to attempt amends with the goddess. After a single action was taken, his proceeding efforts were nearly non-existent. Any attempt to fix the situation were minimal, as were efforts to learn from his mistakes. Furthermore, Okonkwo advances to partaking in the death of Ikemefuna. The relationship between the two is complicated, but is closest description is that of a boy and his step-father. Killing Ikemefuna is not an evil against the earth, as beating a wife during the week of peace was, but a crime against himself. He is unhappy with himself, and still does nothing to fix his ways, continuing on to single handedly killing a boy at a funeral. Although accidental, Okonkwo was still the man behind the gun. “It was a crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman, and a man who committed it must flee from the land….he could return to the clan after seven years” (124). Okonkwo had no choice but to leave for the seven years, perhaps upon his return
Gender roles played a crucial part to the understanding of the people of Umuofia; especially to Okonkwo. But just as in today’s world, one person of a group cannot define the entire group, it was the same back then, which further proves how the District Commissioner’s view of Umuofia would not represent the entire clan, let alone Africa as a whole. Okonkwo’s motivation behind his views of patriarchy stem from his father Unoka; he wanted to be such a great man of the tribe, unlike his “agbala” of a father. Okonkwo’s son “[n]woye knew that it was right to be masculine and to be violent, but somehow he still preferred the stories that his mother used to tell, and which she no doubt still told to her younger children…but he now knew that they were for foolish women
Saying they should convert now because if they did it after he died he would come back from the dead and break their necks. Okonkwo’s friends and family were soon converting to the new religion; but Okonkwo was never going to stop fighting for his clan. He started trying to find a way to remove the missionaries from his homeland. Shortly after they burn down the church out of rage. The missionaries come to the leaders of the clan and says that they should solve and discuss what happened in the church in a friendly way; yet when the members of Umuofia arrived they were captured and thrown to jail. “It happened so quickly that the six men did not see it coming. There was only a brief scuffle, too brief even to allow the drawing of a sheathed machete. The six men were handcuffed and led into the guardroom”(143 Achebe). The white men were abusing power by killing people. “...[the men of umuofia had] been taken to Umuru and would be hanged on the following day. Some said that their families would also be hanged. Others said that soldiers were already on their way to shoot the people of Umuofia as they had done in Abame”(145 Achebe). Okonkwo was very upset once he was released. He wanted the clan to get revenge and fight back for all that the white men have done to the clans. So he took it upon himself to do so. ”Okonkwo slept very little that night. The bitterness in his heart was now mixed with a kind of childlike excitement, before he had gone to bed he had brought down his war dress, which he had not touched since his return from exile”(147 Achebe). At the marketplace meeting the next day Okonkwo takes action, decapitating one of the white men. He had done what he believed was
11, para. 2). Because the village of Umuofia is widely feared, Mbaino peacefully presents a fifteen year old boy and a virgin to Umuofia as retribution for the killing, and it is decided the boy, Ikemefuna, will stay with Okonkwo until the elders decide his fate. “Ikemefuna's stay in Okonkwo's home was supposed to be a temporary arrangement -- until the clan decided what was to be done with him -- but he ended up living as a member of the family for three years” (Akwani, 2011, para. 11). Okonkwo places Ikemefuna in the home of his most senior wife, who is also the mother of Okonkwo’s oldest son, Nwoye.
?Okonkwo had no patience with unsuccessful man. He had no patience with his father?. This was the belief of there tribe and was upheld. Because Unoka had different values than this tribe he was frown upon by everyone as a failure. The Evil Forest was a strong belief also, they felt that if twins were born they would had to be thrown into the evil forest to die because they were evil. And a dying man with a strange sickness would also be thrown into the forest, this was how Okonkwo?s father died. They have strong beliefs in evil sprits the gods which leads them to do things that in our culture would have you put before a judge and tried. But in their tribe the Judge and jury members were made up of one representative from everyone one of the nine villages in Umuofia. This shows that the tribe really valued fair representation of all the tribes. There were not many things that would have to put before the jury unless it was a serious offence like killing a member of your own tribe. Which is how part one ends with Okonkwo being forced to leave the tribe because he accidentally killed someone.
Secondly, the Christians unite the converts, but this unity does not prevent the new converts from demeaning others because of their religion or beliefs. When Mr. Kiaga, the missionaries’ interpreter, persuades the converts to accept the osu, or those who are cast out of the clan, Achebe writes, “‘Before God,’ he [Mr. Kiaga] said, ‘there is no slave or free. We are all children of God and we must receive these our brothers’”(136). The people are guided by Mr. Kiaga’s words as he teaches that they are all children of God and are, therefore, equal. One might think that converts would subsequently show the other religion in Umuofia an equal amount of respect as before, but they do not. While the church is still new to the village and does not perish in Evil Forest, Achebe says, “Three converts had gone into the village and
A sense of foreboding envelops us from the first. We sense all will not end well for Umuofia. The chill of fear grips us as the world of Okonkwo and his clan truly falls apart. Okonkwo will need all of his power to fight the forces against his world, but tragically he is crippled by the most destructive malady of all, fear of himself. Achebe employs the form of classical Greek tragedy to tell his African tale of the rise and fall of Okonkwo.
This passage, found as a conclusion to a chapter in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, takes place after Okonkwo's return to Umuofia. A new English missionary has been set up in the village and has caused a great divide between the villagers. The main purpose of the section is to describe some of these events and changes that have taken place in Umuofia since Okonkwo's return. The passage is structured in three parts, each detailing about a different aspect. The first section focuses on Okonkwo's son Nwoye's conversion to Christianity and subsequent successes. The second part goes into detail about Okonkwo's arrival home to his clan and the change in the village. Finally, the last section includes Okonkwo's inner feelings and opinions