The novel “things fall apart” is about the fatal demise of Okonkwo and the igbo culture of Umuofia. Okonkwo is well known and respected leader in his community, who is successful in everything he does, such as wrestling and farming. He is quick with his hands and takes pride in his accomplishments. Okonkwo’s family relationship makes him a sympathetic character because of his support and an unsympathetic character because of his cruelty.
Achebe writes, “ Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe 63). Many other members of the tribe would have let their son be killed because of the unwavering faith many have in their religion and the decisions of the elders. However, not many would do it themselves. This scene truly showcases Okonkwo’s fears. Also, later on, a meeting is called with people from all of the nine villages in attendance. Okonkwo and his friend, Obierika, are looking for Egonwanne, a man Okonkwo believes will cause trouble and suggest against going to war. When asked how he knows that this man will be a problem, Okonkwo replies, “Because I know he is a coward” (Achebe 202). Because of who his father was, Okonkwo does not like anyone who is a coward. Therefore, he unjustly does not like this man. 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 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’s aggressive ways caused Nwoye to rely on Ikemefuna, A boy given to Okonkwo by a neighboring village, as an older brother who teaches him a more gentle form of masculinity. The bond between Nwoye and Ikemefuna was stronger than the bond between Nwoye and Okonkwo ever was because of Okonkwo’s refusal to demonstrate affection towards his son as it could make him appear weak. However, because of the death of Ikemefuna, Nwoye fears having to return to the harsh values of his father. Okonkwo’s stubborn ideas of masculinity ruined his relationship with his son beyond repair. Okonkwo’s refusal to show emotion towards his family pushed them apart which shows that Okonkwo is not willing to give up his stern values and reputation to be emotionally committed to his family. Once again, Nwoye found peace away from his father when the Christian missionaries came to Mbanta, the motherland where Okonkwo and his family were exiled to. Nwoye converted to Christianity and escaped the force of his father in their household. Okonkwo, of course, didn’t support his son’s decision and was completely against Nwoye leaving behind the tradition the Okonkwo followed so deeply. A paragraph in chapter seventeen reflects on Okonkwo’s thoughts. “To abandon the gods of one’s father and go about
In the story “Things Fall Apart”, Okonkwo is a character who is recognized as a successful wrestler, and a strong leader in the village Umuofia. Okonkwo is exiled to his mother’s village called Mbanta for seven years for killing Ezeudu’s sixteen-year-old son. Okonkwo finds out that his son Nwoye has joined Christianity and takes exception to it. Okonkwo beats Nwoye because he joins Christianity because he still hasn’t forgiven Okonkwo for killing Ikemefuna. 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.
This website provides a broad description of the author, which includes early life, education, university, teaching and producing, Things Fall Apart, and marriage and family.Learning about the author would further help readers understand the origin of the novel. However, citation of Wikipedia may be considered unreliable, because educators do not consider Wikipedia an authoritative source. This is because anyone can edit the information given at any time, and although most errors are quickly fixed, some errors go unnoticed. A writer must be careful when using wikipedia and be sure to cross check the information with a more credible source.
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’s values are restricted to physical strength, power, and prosperity, and when the Europeans suddenly arrive, the cultural convergence prompts Okonkwo to respond with even more violence. While the majority of his tribe, including his son Nwoye, is open to considering
China Achebe demonstrates the disrespect the Ibo men had for woman in Things Fall Apart by depicting verbal and physical abuse within the community. The men have control over a woman through power of authority. This physical and verbal abuse lets the men of the society feel empowerment over the woman. “ Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper” Achebe 12. Okonkwo was a big supporter of physical and verbal abuse in his home, especially towards his wives and Nwoye. To Okonkwo, physical abuse was another language. This is how he spoke, and punished, on the occasion of the abuse, and how he had handled the situation. Women was treated poorly in Umuofia because men believe that they were weak and in inadequate.
Fear is the core cause of the dramatic shift of lifestyle for both Okonkwo and Nwoye. Through the management of reputation and the avoidance of their father’s likeness, Okonkwo and Nwoye built new lives for themselves. Okonkwo sought power and authority to prove his masculinity and make up for Unoka’s reputation as a weak man. He did this to the point where manliness became his character. Fearlessness and violence were masculine qualities that in Igbo culture signifies strength and influence. 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.
During the colonial era, white Europeans colonized new territory and new peoples. This transformative period has had a prolonged and detrimental effect throughout the world, which is known as postcolonialism. The Europeans developed a sense of superiority and felt that their religion and culture was dominant because they possessed more advanced technology. This provided continued motivation for their conquest and expansion because they felt they had a “white man’s burden”, meaning they have a responsibility to save or civilize a group of savage natives. West Africa was subjugated by European powers and, in the process, their society and culture was destroyed. Postcolonialism examines the aftermath of colonization and how the native people continue on with their lives and how they
An often glossed over and prettily wrapped part of history can be found when examining the colonial era. This was a time of imperial racing to see who could develop the most civilizations and obtain the most land worldwide. What is ignored though is the truth of what colonialism did to the nations and the reality of its impacts on the world as a whole. Colonialism is responsible for the unequal biases toward race, gender, social class, among and within nations. Further, colonialism set into motion exploitation of nations of the global south for the benefit of nations of the global north, and even upon decolonization, with the optimistic idea of independence, imperial powers set up a system to where the decolonized nations were still dependent on them and continued the abuse of the global south nations and their resources for the economic gain, and that system sticks with us to this day. This paper will explore the impact then and now of colonialism on poverty and development in the world.
Chinua Achebe’s 1958 literary classic, Things Fall Apart (Achebe, 1958), is renowned for its authentic account of the black African experience. Set in post-colonial Nigeria, the fictional novel discusses the cultural roots of the Igbos and follows the life of the tragic hero, Okonkwo. This acclaimed novel deals with strong patriarchal ideals of masculinity within the Igbo culture and how Okonkwo is a direct manifestation of this. Achebe depicts the relationship between masculinity and both male and female characters, and how this, in turn, has an effect on Okonkwo’s relationships. The strongest relationship in the novel is between father (Okonkwo) and daughter (Ezinma); their bond is strong because Ezinma is everything Okonkwo would want in a son. This affects and can also be seen as a reflection of Okonkwo’s other relationships between male characters, namely Unoka, Nwoye, and Ikemefuna. This essay will discuss how Achebe portrays masculinity in Things Fall Apart (Achebe, 1958), how the hyper-masculinized character, Okonkwo, receives and interacts with certain characters. I will also discuss how Okonkwo’s ridged patriarchal ideals of virility are counterintuitive with his actions and intentions of ensuring a masculine household.
Colonialism integrated Africa into international labor division. Colonialism is when a country or state overpower a particular state by a use of propaganda for them to agree with their terms without the targeted state or country saying anything to the above-mentioned terms (Ocheni & Basil, 2012). Colonialism in Africa refers to the incident which took place during the 1800-1960s where European states came into Africa and exploit resources. This essay will validate the effects of colonialism in Africa and how it affected the economy of Africa states which led them to be in the current economic state, furthermore, it will outline how colonizers used their colonial methods to get Africans to change their indigenous ways of doing things.
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). Therefore, Okonkwo asks Nwoye to quit listening to his mother's womanly stories and hear the tales of war. It is only when Ikemefuna arrives that Nwoye begins to behave masculine. After much training, Okonkwo is pleased with Nwoye’s changed behaviour and for this, he credits Ikemefuna. Okonkwo’s good friend, Obierika is a contradicting character – with a title equivalent to Okonkwo’s – with a completely different belief system. Obierika does not shy away from his feminine characteristics, just like Unoka, he is compassionate and gentle. With this mentality, Obierika lives a happy family life, while Okonkwo’s life is loaded with
Discourse on colonialism generally results in the different opinions of the colonizer and the colonized. The upshot of such discourse shows that colonialism has divergent interpretations. For the colonizer, it is ‘a civilizing mission’; to the colonized, it is exploitation. Such concept is better understood when both the views are studied with an objective approach. Things Fall Apart is a perfect novel to study colonialism as it deals with the perspectives of the colonizer and the colonized. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the positive and negative impacts of colonialism.
S. Naipaul and J. M. Coetzee these Post-colonial writers have all dealt with Africa in their own individual and unique ways. Achebe does not treat the African culture and ways of life as something hybrid, complex, dependant for its significance on the Western style of perceiving things or neither has he shown Africa to be existing only in relation to its difference from or consonance with the Western form of religion, culture, identity, and discourse. The major theme of the novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ centers around the destruction of Africa’s intricate, almost incomprehensible but unique way of life and culture in the wake of British colonization and forced or maneuvered conversion to Christianity. The administrative as well as religious changes that the British tries to impose upon the native Africans has the disastrous effects of uprooting the indigenous people from their original root and tradition and can be seen as some instruments of subjugation, subordination and subservience which starts with creating distrust, doubts and insecurity in the minds of people for their Igbo tradition, and its cultural and religious practices and ends with making them internalize the Christian way of life and British administrative apparatuses. Another theme that is explored in this novel is the inherent fault of the central character Okonkwo, who is ambitious, industrious, honest, masculine but is rash, and unthinking and his sense of self and identity is wholly dependent on the approval of others in his community and he thinks of anything that intrudes into it as a threat and he tries hard to be a man though in a flawed manner. His sense of attaining masculinity is fuelled by an indomitable desire to rise above his father’s spendthrift, lazy, ineffectual and effeminate character and he associates violence, haughtiness, and aggression as the only set of emotions to be displayed for expressing true masculinity. He beats his wives and threatens to kill women.