Things Fall Apart Essay

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Kandace Barzey Wake Forest
Advanced World Literature Things Fall Apart Essay
December 19, 2012 Believe, Achieve, Succeed

What is the definition of a man to you? Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart takes place in a Nigerian village known as Umuofia. The main character, Okonkwo, is part of the Igbo clan in Umuofia. Okonkwo 's success is driven by his desire not to be a failure like his father Unoka; he is so determined not to be like his father to the point where he is willing to kill and is very violent in order to show his masculinity. Okonkwo does not symbolize masculinity because he feels anger is the only emotion he should show, he portrays masculinity with aggression, and he bases his masculinity off of the clan 's titles and
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When Okonkwo did show emotions, he was always aggressive.

Okonkwo believes that to be a man, you have to live an aggressive life. He lives his aggressive life by beating his wives when they upset him.

Without further argument Okonkwo gave her a sound beating and left her and her only daughter weeping (p.38).

This just shows that Okonkwo acts on his feelings and he takes his aggression out on the people he feels it towards, especially women because they are considered weak. You can also see that Oknonkwo lives an aggressive life by the stories that he tells Nwoye and Ikemefuna.

So Okonkwo encouraged the boys to sit with him in his obi, and he told them stories of the land – masculine stories of violence and bloodshed (p.53).

In Okonkwo 's eye 's, you are not a man unless you have complete control over you wives, children, and your household. In addition to that, Okonkwo talks about drinking wine from his first human head and being a warrior. From the reasons previously stated above, not only can you see that Okonkwo lives a life of aggression by fighting and being a warrior, but he also bases his masculinity on what people would think of him and the amount of titles he can earn.

In the village of Umuofia, there are titles that clansmen can reach throughout their lifetime. With each title, there comes respect. Okonkwo feels that only the most manly men can achieve those titles by not backing down and being complete warriors.
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