Okonkwo dreads that Nwoye will blot the acclaim and honour he has worked so hard to achieve. Nwoye’s “incipient laziness” was causing Okonkwo great deal of distress and he sought to correct him by “constant nagging and beating” and as a result Nwoye was “turning into a sad-faced youth” (Pg. 13). Nwoye is aware that he should adopt the more masculine traits of his tribesmen, as desired by his father but he still prefers his mother’s company. Okonkwo
Every main character in any story always has their flaws and Okonkwo perfectly demonstrates that. The main character in the book Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, is a man named Okonkwo. The story tracks his and his family’s lives as they live prospering in their village. Although he was born into a poor family with an idle father, Okonkwo’s determination and hard work led him up the social ladder to be one of the most successful people in his village. His actions reveal him to be a very rough and often violent person.
Okonkwo constantly struggled to create the same masculine character in Nwoye that he made for himself and constantly found a reflection of his effeminate father, Unoka, in Nwoye. Chapter two describes the relationship between Okonkwo and Nwoye in Nwoye’s youth. “Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness... He sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating” (13-14). Okonkwo’s efforts to change Nwoye’s resemblance of Unoka were causing their relationship to be pushed apart because of Okonkwo’s violence and Nwoye’s resistance.
Okonkwo tries to fight the changes made by the Western people. Okonkwo’s response to the Western people trying to bring Western ideas into the Ibo culture are simply trying to fight back at the Western people with violence. Okonkwo is a strong and fierce leader, but throughout the story, he is challenged by the Western people and the cultural collision because Okonkwo is supposed to be the leader of Umuofia. Okonkwo is supposed to fight back for his village and not stop until he gets it done. In the story Achebe quotes, “He was a man of action, a man of war.
Also in the book, Okonkwo said, “ If anyone prefers to be a woman, let him follow Nwoye now while I am alive so that I can curse him. If you turn against me when I am dead I will visit you and break your neck”(172). At this point, he is telling his other children that if they want to act not manly, they can follow their brother Nwoye, that he forbade. He is also affecting his relationship with his clansmen, for example the tone he talks to them, he acts like he does not care for their feelings and that he would kill them if they choose to follow in the steps of
In the book “Things Fall Apart“ Okonkwo is a very strong man and from time to time he starts showing his true self. He has a lot of responsibilities and other things he has to do around the living environment and interact with lots of people. Okonkwo changes from being that strong man, to a man who feels like his tribe is not with him when he wants to go to war with the missionaries. For someone like Okonkwo a lot of people looks up to him and while in the tribe Okonkwo beats his wives and children. Not good behavior for someone who is supposedly looked at as strong.
The author, Chinua Achebe, used Okonkwo as an example of the father/son conflict and how the conflict affects a man’s life. Just because one does not always act like the typical strong, almost emotionless man, that does not mean one is coward. Okonkwo’s thought process leads to his demise because he cannot bear to see the strong willed tribe and culture he has known his whole life fail him: just
Okonkwo wanted his tribe to fight back the missionaries in order to protect their Igbo culture but his persistence only led to his downfall. This can be seen when Okonkwo makes a rash decision to kill a messenger thinking Umuofia would fight back but ended up not fighting, “The white man whose power you know too well has ordered this meeting to stop.” In a flash, Okonkwo drew his machete. The messenger crouched to avoid the blow. It was useless.
Among those of the same culture, individuals who are adaptive and open-minded can be successful when there is cultural collision. When the Igbo and European cultures collide, Okonkwo gradually spirals out of control, losing everything he values and his own sense of self. From the beginning of the novel, Achebe depicts Okonkwo as a virile warrior and a successful farmer within the Igbo tribe. Reacting with violence to anything he considers “womanly” or “weak”, “He was a man of action and man of war” (10). Because of his reputation as a warrior he is highly respected by his community.
Okonkwo uses these traits to differentiate from Unoka and he even feels most like himself when he exhibits violent behavior in order to assert his power and authority over others. Literary critic Christopher Ouma affirmed Okonkwo’s genuine intention to change how he is regarded in society.
His fear of weakness and failure is derived from his father, Unoka’s failures, which ignite Okonkwo’s misogynistic views. Throughout his lifetime, Okonkwo associates femininity with weakness because of Unoka, who was called an “agbala” or woman by the people of Umuofia. Since women have this reputation for weakness, Okonkwo lives with constant fear that he will be given the same title as his father. Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye’s effeminacy reminds Okonkwo of his own father. He says, "I have done my best to make Nwoye grow into a man, but there is much of his mother in him ."(Achebe, 66).
(p.143) Okonkwo most definitely did not accept Nwoye joining the missionaries. Okonkwo strangled his own son because he changed his beliefs. He could not be himself around his own family, he felt more comfortable around the missionaries; complete strangers. When Christian missionaries brought a new religion to the Ibo culture Nwoye changed his opinion about his cultures beliefs and religion. Nwoye was one of the best characters in this book because he had a conscious.
The inability for Okonkwo to be weak makes him solely cruel and with a weak father like Unoka he felt forced to adapt opposite ideals. Chinua Achebe shows how Okonkwo had to make a life for himself as his father had not allowed for many opportunities for him to come in play. Later the author of the article, Psychology & Behavioral Health Vol.2 the author talks about the motivation that it takes to overcome and cope with the fears that prohibit him from growing and being he optimal version of himself. Fight or flight is described as a physiological
Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son, also becomes the first converts to Christianity (Achebe 107). He does it to show his protest for Igbo decision to sacrifice Ikemefuna, Okonkwo’s adopted son’. Nyowe decides to join church and choose to attend school. After knowing about it, Okonkwo gets furious and disowns Nwoye. The decision to abandon his son becomes another example of Igbo’s inability to deal with change.
When Okonkwo's family is faced with a struggle, Okonkwo lets fear rule over his actions of his family’s protection. Okonkwo’s inner thoughts are revealed; “He tried not to think about Ikemefuna, but the more he tried, the more he thought about him” (Achebe 54). Okonkwo, although he seldom openly shows it, cares about his family. After Ikemefuna’s murder, Okonkwo’s true feelings are brought forth by the weak afterthoughts of the son he had grown to care for. Okonkwo’s fear of weakness is an internal conflict that affects Okonkwo through the book.