His suicide at the end of the story seems fitting, for once the culture loses its unique way of life, he has nothing left to live for. Throughout his life, Okonkwo possesses a steady fear of failure. Toward the beginning of the story, Achebe says, “Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself” (13). Internal forces constantly chip away at Okonkwo’s sanity, threatening to destroy him.
But much to the anguish of Okonkwo, Nwoye embodied most of his grandfather’s traits and this enraged Okonkwo deeply. 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’s worst fear was to be the kind of man his father was, so he tried his best not to let his fear become a reality. With a father like Unoka, Okonkwo didn’t get the start as most young men in the village; however, he worked his way to the position of leadership of the clan. There was only one emotion that Okonkwo showed, and it was anger. This was his only emotion because it was how he expressed his feelings. Okonkwo had to leave his fatherland, but after returning home, he found his home unrecognizable.
But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw (Achebe 13). Okonkwo’s fear of failure serves as an indicator that he would stop at nothing to succeed in his beliefs. Similarly, Okonkwo’s accepts his faith as a priority to success. Therefore, when the white settlers arrive in Umoufia, Okonkwo is not able to comprehend the massive changes that they bring along.
Okonkwo has a response to the collision of his culture. 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.
Nwoye and Okonkwo had a rocky relationship from the beginning but it only solidified once Ikemefuna was killed. Christianity being introduced to Umuofia showed Nwoye that he had a purpose in life and he didn’t have to be just like his father. Nwoye and Okonkwo had a bad relationship because they could never accept the fact that they had more differences than similarities,this caused them to separate from each other permanently. Stephen Covey said “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” If Nwoye and Okonkwo would have been able to set their differences aside and tried to accept each other then maybe Nwoye wouldn’t have converted to
Before the Ibo tribe experiences a cultural collision, Nwoye’s personal identity is incoherent since it is masked by Okonkwo’s expectations. Since he is the eldest son of Okonkwo, Nwoye is expected by his father to become a strong man with profound masculine traits. However, Nwoye struggles to please his father. As stated in Things Fall Apart, “Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old, but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness” (Achebe 13). The sensitive and sympathetic side of Nwoye contradicts Okonkwo’s hopes for his son, and makes Nwoye seem more indolent than he actually was.
This decision came after the sacrifice of Ikemefuna who was 16 | P a g e almost a brother to Nwoye. Nwoye was totally against the decision made by Igbo to kill his brother, hence he protests against this act by joining the church and choosing to attend school. His father on the other hand is not at all pleased with Nwoye’s decision to join Christianity. Although Okonkwo is disappointed in his son’s choice he does not act on it. It is then assumed that Okonkwo somehow expected this kind of behaviour from his son as he always saw Nwoye as “weak and woman-like” (Strong-Leek 2).
All that Okonkwo ever accomplished was from fear of becoming his father, which means that he was only thinking of himself and not of others like a hero should. Not only was he selfish but in order to have people think he is strong he was willing to kill a child. Okonkwo is not tragic a hero because of his lack of selflessness and because he
The first reason that led to Okonkwo 's fate was that he struggled throughout his entire childhood. Unoka, who is Okonkwo’s father, was a failure. His wife and children did not have enough foods to eat and he owed almost every villager money (Achebe, 5). Life was hard for Okonkwo because Unoka was a lazy father who did not bother to think about his future. Okonkwo was not able to focus on other events because he was busy trying to feed and support his family.