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. However, Okonkwo made a name for himself because his was to not follow in his father’s footsteps. In a paragraph describing Okonkwo’s character it says, “He had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had no patience …show more content…
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
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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.
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.
Despite the fact that his status in the Umuofia tribe was high-ranked, his masculinity seems to bulldoze over the qualities that humanize him. In a section of Psychology & Behavioral Health Vol.2 about fear, the author states, “Fear is an unpleasant emotion that occurs in response to an immediate and identifiable threat, usually of an external nature ” (Moglia). While faced with conflict Okonkwo detects a threat and reacts. In several instances these reactions have caused him immense losses such as the death of his adopted son. Okonkwo's temper always manages to shine through, Things Fall Apart depicts this perfectly by stating, “It is not only Ikemefuna who feels fear… every nerve in Okonkwo tells him this is wrong, but when the moment comes, he kills his adopted son.”
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).
Okonkwo devotes his life to becoming the opposite of his unsuccessful father. This need to become masculine introduces his fear: “But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of
As a child, Nwoye is the frequent object of his father's criticism and remains emotionally unfulfilled. Okonkwo, “wanted Nwoye to grow into a tough man capable of ruling his father’s household when he was dead and gone to join the ancestors”(38). When Nwoye finds out that it is Okonkwo who killed a “brother” who he is extremely fond of, and grows very close with, he loses all appreciation for Okonkwo and decides to go against his father and his cultures.
Okonkwo is a very well-respected and independent man in Umuofia due to his titles and hard work. Even though he seems put together and stern, his life is dictated by fear. His fear of becoming like his father led him to helping in the murder of Ikemefuna, beating his wives and children, and disowning his oldest son, Nwoye. As a main character, Okonkwo remains pretty much the same throughout the book, his biggest issue being his inability to have compassion. Who might he not have compassion for and why?
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. Okonkwo is a strong and fierce leader, but throughout the story, he is challenged by the Western people and the cultural collision because Okonkwo is supposed to be the leader of Umuofia. Okonkwo is supposed to fight back for his village and not stop until he gets it done. In the story Achebe quotes, “He was a man of action, a man of war.
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
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.
Today, Christianity is one of the largest religions in Africa. In the past few decades, there has been a large growth of Christians in Africa - this is coupled with a steady decline in the more traditional African religions. The book, Things Fall Apart shows that a character that has a tragic flaw is one that constantly makes error in there actions that eventually cates us to them and leads them to there doom. Okonkwo, a perfect tragic character, is driven by his fear of being unmanly, this causes him to act very harsh toward his fellow tribesmen, his family and himself; he will judge all the people in the village. In the eyes of Okonkwo, a true man is wealthy, hard-working, and violent.
His father was the exact opposite of what the Igbo people stand for. Unoka, Okonkwo’s father, is a “coward [who] could not bear the sight of blood” (Achebe 6). In turn, Okonkwo became a ruthless warrior who was known across the different tribes. The worst aspect of Unoka is that he was considered to be a failure. This caused Okonkwo “even as a little boy [to resent] his father’s failure” (13).
¨He had no patience with unsuccessful men, He had no patience with his father¨(Achebe Pg. #4). Okonkwo does not tolerate men who had no title or who were lazy, including his father. He was so unsympathetic and full of his own priorities that he had no patience for his own father. This shows that he has no sympathy for people who are considered less of him.
Nwoye, although he is a male, is viewed as a very feminine character. Okonkwo’s dislike of “a woman for a son” (153) pushes Nwoye to the Christian Church and Okonkwo’s actions show the imbalance of respect and the dislike of women in a patriarchy. Although he is viewed as “womanly” and weak, Nwoye gains power through the Christian Church, joining “effeminate men clucking like old hens” (153). Indeed, the white religion is viewed as womanly also; however, the Christian religion proves to be a powerful force in changing the masculine ways of the Ibo tribe. This change symbolizes the influence and powerful impact women can have on traditional and masculine thinking.
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. “ Even as a little boy Okonkwo had represented his father 's failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate had told him that his father was Agbala.