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How Does Okonkwo's Change In Things Fall Apart

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The Russian author Leo Tolstoy once said “everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart the main character, Okonkwo, struggles with a sense of identity. He wishes to change those around him to be his ideal version of manly: emotionless, strong, and unafraid to fight. He does not think about changing his own ideals in response to the changes brought about by the introduction of the white men in Umuofia, which ultimately led to his downfall. As a result of the cultural collision Okonkwo’s morals are tested, those close to him change, and he succumbs to the fate of a tragic hero. Okonkwo’s character is shaped mostly by the fear of being like his father. When his father, Unoka, was alive he spent his money on food and wine and…show more content…
Okonkwo’s immediate reaction to the white men is with violence. And while they do sometimes respond in this way, like when they destroy the church after the egwugwu is unmasked, they don’t really respond with much violence. In face his son Nwoye and many of the villagers join the church because they don’t feel accepted by the Ibo culture. To Okonkwo this is very weak and womanly which he does not like. Them leaving points out flaws in his culture that he adheres to for fear of being seen as weak. And while the white man’s culture has flaws as well, their culture attracted outcasts and others who felt they were wronged by their culture. As a whole Umuofia didn’t respond how he thought was manly and right, which drove him to a breaking point. The text shows Obierka saying, “that man was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. You drove him to kill himself and now he will be buried like a dog,” (Achebe 192). The clash of the new culture that caused change to Okonkwo’s life, and his stubbornness against changing himself and fitting the mold of what man should be drove him to kill
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