Prompt 2 Okonkwo is driven by his hatred of his father and the fear he will become like him. Okonkwo saw his father, Unoka, as a coward and is ashamed to be his son. Everything that Okonkwo does is meant to set him apart from the legacy of his father. First, this is evident in his beating of his wives and even his aggression with his children. He is trying to show his strength and ensure he is not portrayed to be like his father: powerless and incapable.
In Umuofia, Okonkwo has a high title, earned by demonstrating his achievement in his city. He is recognized everywhere for being a great wrestler who beat Amalinze the Cat. In chapter one, it says that “He brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat” (Achebe 3). Okonkwo made it his goal to demonstrate himself powerfully to the community because his father, Unoka, was the opposite. The emotional, lazy, gentile, and unsuccessful Unoka was interested in music and drinking, and he didn 't try hard to make a name for himself.
Okonkwo’s instinctively violent nature, dedication to his tribe, and dedication to his manliness makes him at fault for his tragic fate. Okonkwo strived to be everything his father, Unoko, wasn’t. Unoko was gentle, lazy, and unsuccessful. Okonkwo strives to be the opposite. He is stoic, strict, and wealthy.
In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the main protagonist Okonkwo follows the classic tragic hero’s definition very closely. Okonkwo is the leader of the Igno community located in Umuofia. Okonkwo is described as a tall, well built, manly man. He has bushy eyebrows and a wide nose that gives him a tough look. Okonkwo has 3 wives, and lots of children who all live in his compound.
Eventually, after numerous hardships, Okonkwo earns his success and obtains several barns and wives. This symbolizes wealth and power which were what Okonkwo had been working for all his life. Moreover, Achebe portrays Okonkwo as a fierce warrior and is also represents him as a model clansman in the society:
Okonkwo becomes like this because of his father. His father was lazy and dies a dishonorable death and leaves nothing for his family. Okonkwo fears becoming like his father, an agbala. The effect of this is beneficial for Okonkwo. The way he turns out makes him a great man and because of this, he obtains the third highest title in his tribe.
Okonkwo was specially fond of Ezinma” (44). Ezinma is told by her father to leave the hard work for the boys even though she wants to do it. Ezinma wants Okonkwo to like her and she wants to impress him by being manly because Okonkwo values manliness. Okonkwo believes that Ezinma’s willingness to do so much for her father is very admirable and he likes Ezinma the most out of all of his children. When Okonkwo is talking about how much he likes Ezinma he says,”He never stopped regretting that Ezinma was a girl.
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.
Q1: Explain how Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, influenced his life. A1: Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, influenced Okonkwo’s life because he had been a failure in life. Unoka was a lazy and improvident debtor. In his youth he lived a carefree life and would visit different villages and market to play on his flute and feast.
Okonkwo is the protagonist, so it makes sense for him to demonstrate a lot of pride which he undeniably does. Okonkwo is constantly bragging and boastful talking about how many men he or Umuofia has killed and is constantly scared to be perceived as weak. An early example of this is in chapter 7 when Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna. He is advised by his elders not to go and just stay at home. But Okonkwo goes anyway, which leads to him killing Ikemefuna because "He was afraid of being thought weak.
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.
When Okonkwo was “angry and could not get his words quickly out enough, he would use his fists” (Achebe 2). Okonkwo’s violent personality traits cause him to make very irrational decisions that would later have future consequences. Despite that, his less than perfect tendencies did help him to achieve many goals throughout his life. However, the instances where they worked against him outweigh all other factors. Okonkwo is seen as a very painfully structured man and when something doesn't go according to his structure, it causes him to make irrational decisions.
He was a caring man down in his heart but “his whole life was dominated by the fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (Achebe 13), and his mission to become one of the greatest men of his clan. Okonkwo was devoted to masculinity, he put it above anything else preventing anyone from questioning his masculinity. When he felt a slight sign of weakness it reminded him of his fathers failure to being a true man not providing for his family or ruling women and his children, therefore “he was not really a man” (Achebe 53).There were many traits to being a masculine man but to Okonkwo the main one was ruling his wife and children, if any of them had disobeyed him he would beat them without hesitation or regret. Although Okonkwo is influenced by masculinity it is because the Ibo culture believes in men dominating women which leads their society to fall