The book Things Fall Apart is a book about the rise and fall of the tragic hero protagonist, Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a highly respected and important leader in his Igbo culture struggles going through the religious collision in his society. The storyline shows Okonkwo and his problems or choices that he makes and how those choices and decision ultimately lead to his downfall. Growing up he viewed his own Father as a slow, wasteful man. This shaped his mindset to believe that in order to be successful; he needed to be a strong, unsympathetic, dominant and controlling man. These character actions were an attempt to hide his fear of becoming like his father who in his mind was weak and a failure. His adult life progressed with him being viewed as a rich, famous man that was highly respected. Okonkwo had earned fame and brought nobility to his village. Sadly, as he aged, his anger grew which steered him to the choices that led to his ultimate downfall. Okonkwo progressively became more dominant and increasingly violent. He would never take responsibility for his actions, always blaming his ‘chi’ (personal spirit) when things went wrong. He would explode in rage at the smallest thing. This anger included breaching the Week of
Okonkwo’s story portrays the major differences between African culture and the idea that the Western society had on the African culture. Okonkwo is native to the Umuofia tribe and represented this oversized human being who with holds no emotion. All this makes Okonkwo seem very unrelatable and unfriendly, but this is what makes his relationships with the characters in the book so entertaining. For example, Okonkwo had a very negative connection with his father that affected him so much that it brought him to the point where it changed his life and is also the reason why he is so strict with his kids. With the introduction of these missionaries into the tribe, it completely changed the way the tribe acted and ended up bringing Okonkwo to a point where he had to pay the ultimate price. It was all because they couldn’t get along.
He is a man who sees his purpose as a call to lead his community in order to make it the make it the best it can be, and the way he does this is by following social norms of Umuofia very closely. The society that Okonkwo lives in “appreciates personal success” as it pertains to the “well-being of the whole community”(Obiechina 41). Therefore, if Okonkwo sees something that will better his tribe, then he will do anything in his power to obtain that or accomplish what his leaders want. For example, Okonkwo took in Ikemefuna for years, treating him and thinking of him like a son. Although, when it came time for the tribe to sacrifice Ikemefuna, the leaders of Umuofia witnessed Okonkwo kill Ikemefuna because “he was afraid of being thought weak”(Achebe 61). Okonkwo will go to any extent in order to follow the social expectations of his tribe members. Because of this, he can not control himself when he sees his tribe’s traditions being thrown out because of the missionaries and no one is taking any action to change it. After Okonkwo tries to stand up for his community and is ignored, he hangs himself because he would rather die than witness his tribe be changed forever. The tragedy of Okonkwo “is caused not by his deviation from the norms of his society, but because he tries to adhere to these norms too completely”(Palmer
Okonkwo, one of the fiercest men of Umofia, had to not only fight against Christianity, but the changes and problems it brought to his village. When Okonkwo’s son gets converted into the new faith and leaves Okonkwo, he holds a bigger grudge against the Christians for taking his eldest son away from him. Apart from all these problems, Okonkwo was exiled for seven years into his motherland and came back to Umofia, where he had tried to regain his position as the Christians coming, Okonkwo went through many changes. He wasn’t very good at change, so many times he found himself in tough situations. In the novel, Things Fall Apart, Achebe uses Okonkwo to show the message that a single character or society’s actions affects another character by Okonkwo disputing with the Christians.
Okonkwo soon learns about this and confronts his son, Nwoye about his secret meetings, Okonkwo soon becomes enraged and disowns his son after hearing about his experience not before abusing him of course. This action causes an effect which ultimately leads to Okonkwo’s downfall. Okonkwo enraged by the spread of Christianity within his own village self-proclaims war on the “white man”. Okonkwo eventually was detained as a result of his actions towards the “white man”. After he was released from detainment Okonkwo killed a courier and began to truly understand he was a rebel without a cause as his fellow Tribesmen would not help him with his internal struggle. Okonkwo knowing, he would be caught and executed for his crimes, instead decided to ultimately end his own life by hanging himself. Okonkwo’s major downfall in the story was his inability to co-exist with the white man and began his own personal vendetta against the Christian missionaries. Throughout the story the main essential theme Achebe tried to relay to us would be the fact that even though individuals may be of different religions, skin color, and have different personalities there is a realization that
One part of Okonkwo’s hatred of Christianity was when Nwoye’s decision to convert to this new religion. Okonkwo was already disbelieving of Christianity and didn’t approve of its practices or gods. With seeing his son becoming part of this new religion and him doing the unusual practices was the breaking point for Okonkwo. With Okonkwo knowing that his son has always been different especially from people in the village, Okonkwo belived that his son was very similar to his father Unoka. As Okonkwo considered this, they are similar because they are both weak. This frights Okonkwo, and he prefers it when Nwoye will try to act normal. When Nwoye was interested in the new religion he was scared “Nwoye had been attracted to the new faith from the very first day, he kept it secret. He dared not go too near the missionaries for fear of his father” (Achebe 149). This was the start of Okonkwo’s life turning upside down even know he did not know about what Nwoye was
The missionaries conflict with everything Okonkwo believes or values. The missionaries are so outlandish to Okonkwo that his first reaction is just to laugh at them. This is shown on page 147, paragraph 4, “ At the end of it Okonkwo was fully convinced that the man was mad. He shrugged his shoulders and went away.” Okonkwo later begins to understand the threat the missionaries pose to his society and passionately speaks for forcing the missionaries out of Umuofia. However when his people will not listen to him, he feels like he is forced to take matters into his own hands. This is shown on page 204, paragraph 7,” Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body”. The Ibo people do not join in on the violence as Okonkwo had hoped, which contradicted with Okonkwo belief that the Ibo were warrior people. This final loss of Okonkwo’s core beliefs is what shatters Okonkwo’s final sense of identity as a man. As Okonkwo is no longer any of the things he has come to identify himself as, and Okonkwo blames the missionaries for this, his final response to the missionaries is to take his own life. Okonkwo's death is shown on page 207, paragraph 3 “ Then they came to the tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling, and they stopped dead.” When Okonkwo identity was ripped from him he no longer saw a point in living and his fight with the
Groups break up because they never got across what they wanted to do personally, and they have creative differences, and egos start to clash. When the Western ideas were introduced to the Igbo culture in Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, some of the Igbo people’s identity was challenged. Nwoye was one of them. He started in the novel as the first son of the main character, Okonkwo. When the cultural collision between the British colonists and the Igbo people happened, Nwoye’s identity was challenged to the point where he disowned his own father, and his father disowning him as well. The reasons for Nwoye’s change in their sense of identity included the feeling Nwoye have for the first time when he heard the voice of the twins, the murder of
Fearing that these changes might result his downfall in his social status and destruction of his family, he abhors Christianity. Through this misfortunes, Okonkwo starts to realizes that destiny is more powerful than himself as he mentions, “A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. The saying of the elders was not true – that if a man said yeah his chi also affirmed. Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation.” (131) Even though Okonkwo does some violent and cruel things, such as beating his wife and killing Ikemefuna, these are what he has to do to pursue what he believes for and obey the gods. These deeds are not that immoral and sinful to bring great calamities to his life. This demonstrates that fate is more powerful than humans’ acts and beliefs. As a result, Okonkwo, is a man who thinks that he can overcome the destiny, however, he begins to laments for his misfortunes and slowly accept the existent power of fate that dominates his life.
When Okonkwo returns to the village, he finds that the white man has moved in, bringing Christianity with him. This is a struggle that shows Okonkwo’s inflexibility and objection to change from tradition. Eventually, Okonkwo slay’s a man working for the British and ends up hanging himself as a result of his actions. Suicide is forbidden by the clan,
Okonkwo is a strong and confident man who has vowed to never be like his father Unoka. His father was lazy, unsuccessful and carried no titles. The relationship between Okonkwo and his father motivated Okonkwo to gain titles and become successful inside the clan. In this sense, Okonkwo has gained many titles, has three wives, and respected by the clan. Okonkwo chose to feel that identity in the clan was most important, and through this he had become a presence in the clan, noticed by the elders. However after the arrival of missionaries, who had come to convert the clans to Christianity, Okonkwo’s view is completely contradicted by the missionaries. Okonkwo had grown accustomed to members of the clan being ranked by certain tiers, while the
In 19th century, british men had begun to adventure into Africa and imperialize. In Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, it follows the story of Okonkwo; a clan leader in Umuofia, Nigeria. His world begins to collapse as the british start to change the clan's traditions and religion. The invasion of the missionaries struck terror into the clans. With the building of hospitals and trading centers, the people of Umuofia struggle to understand the forced entrance of the white men. The effects the white men leave change the clans way of life.
At first okonkwo was high ranking in the nine villages of mbanta for his great wrestling skill and but okonkwo has a terrible downfall that lead to his misfortune and eventually changed his tribe forever.
Chinua Achebe in the book Things Fall Apart, explains Okonkwo’s battle with failure. When experienced the changes of Umfia he couldn’t live, with he makes a tragic ending. Okonkwo was the one the Ibo tribe looked up to because he was a “fearless” warrior. Okonkwo was driven to be better than his father. Okonkwo was a successful farmer by taking good care of his crops. When the missionaries came in and brought changes, Okonkwo struggled with the changes. Okonkwo’s biggest challenges was when he realized the white man changed everything. Okonkwo proved his strength to the tribe in many ways.