Okonkwo Cultural Change

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Katherine Gerhardt Ms. Gagnon English Honors 25 January 2018 Nwoye’s Response To Cultural Change A sense of identity is often acquired and developed by everyone as they mature, but it is always changing as culture changes. The novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, follows the development of several characters in response to a cultural shock caused by the westernization of the Ibo tribe in Nigeria. The protagonist of the book, Okonkwo, is a strong, diligent leader and supercilious warrior of the tribe who obsesses over his masculine image. However, Okonkwo’s eldest son, Nwoye, tries to shadow and please his father, but ultimately fails for he has a soft side. Especially when it comes to religion, Nwoye’s believes, morals, and interests…show more content…
Before the Ibo tribe experiences a cultural collision, Nwoye’s personal identity is incoherent since it is masked by Okonkwo’s expectations. Since he is the eldest son of Okonkwo, Nwoye is expected by his father to become a strong man with profound masculine traits. However, Nwoye struggles to please his father. As stated in Things Fall Apart, “Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old, but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness” (Achebe 13). The sensitive and sympathetic side of Nwoye contradicts Okonkwo’s hopes for his son, and makes Nwoye seem more indolent than he actually was. Nwoye reminds Okonkwo of his father, a disappointment to the clan, causing a tense relationship between the two because…show more content…
Nwoye’s development throughout Things Fall Apart in response to the cultural collision and the introduction of a new religion contributes to the profound theme of change. The westernization and introduction of Christianity change the Ibo tribe greatly, presenting the tribe a dilemma of accepting or rejecting new cultural norms. As culture changes, things fall apart for some individuals who are not willing to accept the change. However, sometimes a change in culture can provide new options with positive outcomes for people, exemplified by Nwoye’s story. In conclusion, life leads us in different directs and sometimes takes unexpected turns. With these unexpected turns, we learn more about ourselves and our cultural
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