Things Fall Apart: Idea of Strong

Decent Essays
Strength vs. Values

Strong and powerful is controversial, because it differs person to person.

Also, throughout generations and cultures, the definition has been modified. Usually,

one’s values are connected to their interpretation of strength. For example, my

emphasis on my values are utterly different from Okonkwo’s values. The Ibo culture

developed their own idea of strength, American society has modernized it, and one’s

values may differ from another’s.

Throughout Things Fall Apart, the Ibo’s idea of strength is illustrated

through the villagers and Okonkwo’s thoughts. The ultimate result Okonkwo desired

was prosperity, and when he spent seven years from his clan, he developed a plan to

accomplish this.
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“We all know that a man is the head of the family and

his wives do his bidding. A child belongs to its father and his family and not to its

mother and her family” (121). Now, in America, a wife is determined by love, and

not bargaining and money. Today, any person in America, “the land of opportunity”,

can be educated and get a job. In the Ibo society, the only way to succeed was to be

male and a good farmer, and Okonkwo followed this concept.

Okonkwo’s values and mine relate to the cultures we live in. An important

value to me is my education, because in America, the main way to thrive is to be

erudite. Okonkwo strived to be a good farmer, because in his clan, “yam stood for

manliness, and he who could feed his family on yams from one harvest to another

was a very great man indeed” (30). His culture also valued possessions, although I

try not to value them. Okonkwo wanted to be successful and be the opposite of his

lazy father, just like I want to be able to support myself when I grow older. “Even as

a little boy he had resented his father’s failure and weakness…Okonkwo was ruled

by one passion-to hate everything his father Unoka had loved. One of those things

Berman 3

was gentleness and another was idleness” (13). By being unsympathetic, “his life

had been ruled by a great passion-to become one of the lords of the clan. That had

been his life-spring”
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