Fear In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Robert Hood once said, “When there’s fear, people act out in different ways.” Everyone on this planet deals with their fear in different ways, it can be seen in Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. Written in 1958, this story follows the culture and life of Okonkwo and his tribe as they face the difficulties of death, guilt, betrayal, and fear. Although life is great for Okonkwo’s family, their story, just as the title says, falls apart. Fear is a is a huge motivation for Okonkwo, Ekwefi (his youngest wife), and Nwoye (his eldest son). Undoubtedly, Okonkwo deals fear in one of the most common ways, anger. Okonkwo’s father was a failure. Since his father was a failure, Okonkwo developed a fear of being like his father. Even though Okonkwo was a great man, he was “possessed by the fear” (Achebe 7) of his father’s failures. By using this personification, Achebe implies that fear is as…show more content…
Nwoye reacts to his fear with obedience. For his entire life, Nwoye was forced to obey his father no matter the circumstances. A week or so before it was time to plant yams in Okonkwo’s village, Nwoye and Ikemefuna, a boy who was given to Okonkwo’s village, were helping Okonkwo cut the yams ino yam seeds. Okonkwo found fault with Nwoye’s effort and said, “"If you split another yam of this size, I shall break your jaw” (Achebe 12). Nwoye obeyed and never split a small yam again. He obeyed his father out of fear. Likewise, when missionaries came to Umuofia, they intrigued Nwoye. Although they intrigued Nwoye, the missionaries infuriated Okonkwo. Okonkwo hated the missionaries with all of his heart. Naturally, when Nwoye found this out “[h]e dared not go too near the missionaries for fear of his father”(Achebe 54). This is yet another example of how Nwoye obeys when he is afraid. He didn’t go and get more knowledge about these missionaries because he was too terrified of his father to do
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