Okonkping Themes In Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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“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, 153 Online). This was about a character known as Okonkwo, he spent his life devoted to his clan, to improve it and himself, yet in the end he ended his own life, a disgraceful act to his clan. Okonkwo is the protagonist of the novel Things Fall Apart. Introduced as a strong and respected man, Okonkwo starts as such, but throughout the book many of his choices lead him down a path of tragic events. He is part of the Ibo society and culture, the native African culture of the story, which praises strength and masculinity while dejecting vulnerability and femininity from its men. The overarching theme in the novel Things Fall Apart is that clinging to strong devotions can cause one’s life to fall apart, exemplified through Okonkwo’s conflicts with himself, Ibo society, and Christian society. Okonkwo was devoted to suppressing his fears, leading him to make choices that shattered him. An instance of this is when Okonkwo killed Ikemefuna, who was basically his adoptive son and whom he had grown very fond of but had been sentenced to death, “dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him [Ikemefuna] down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe, 44 Online). In that moment he feared that if he didn’t kill his son he would be seen as weak, so he executed his son just to prove his devotion and strength. Ikemefuna’s execution exemplifies Okonkwo’s
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