Things Fall Apart is packed with cultural beliefs, familial relationships, and independent beliefs. These things give us an identity, or a feeling of belonging in our societies, so what happens when a lifestyle gets challenged by another? Well, things fall apart. Though Okonkwo is the main character in this story, Nwoye struggles more with the clashing of cultures, family issues, and religious beliefs. Okonkwo had an unhealthy relationship with his father, which is very negative object in Igbo culture where the father-son bond is a key part of life. Okonkwo, yearning to do for his son what his father never did for him, makes Nwoye feel the pressure of a false identity being pushed upon him. Sensitive, compassionate, and an overall peaceful …show more content…
Okonkwo was also going through struggles of self-identity, and because of it he regrettably took part in killing Ikemefuna. This action broke Nwoye permanently, only strengthening the distance between him and his father. He saw the late Ikemefuna as a brother and a person he could look up to, he felt a feeling he had felt only one time before when he heard twin babies wailing in the Evil Forest. He never appreciated the violence that was embedded in the culture of his clan, but instead loved the stories meant for women. As a young child, Okonkwo would tell his sons stories of violence, and to stop the beatings he would receive for sharing his thoughts on them, Nwoye pretended to enjoy them. “And so he feigned that he no longer cared for women’s stories. And when he did this he saw that his father was pleased, and no longer rebuked him or beat him” (Chapter 7, P 4). The wrath of his father and gender roles in the society he was growing up in pushed him to be someone he was
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Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger. To show affection was a sign of weakness, the only thing worth demonstrating was strength. He therefore treated Ikemefuna as he treated everybody else--with a heavy hand. But there was no doubt he liked the boy. Sometimes when he went to big village meetings or communal ancestral feasts he allowed Ikemefuna to accompany him, like a son, carrying his stool and his goatskin bag.
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. In many ways Okonkwo showed that he had no sympathy for others , However at times he could be sympathetic.
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.
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.
In the beginning of the story, Okonkwo was a very vigorous man who everyone loves. One day a killing happened leaving Okonkwo with a wife and a son, Ikemefuna. He grew to like the young boy, where he is different from his other children, On a fateful day, Okonkwo murders Ikemefuna. Okonkwo had a load of guilt for killing his adoptive son, Ikemefuna.
Things Fall Apart Everyone has its own unique perspective on certain things. In doing so, one must interact or collide with another throughout life. In Things Fall Apart, the author, Chinua Achebe, attempts to communicate the concept of cultural collision while depicting the life of the Igbo tribe. He creates two main characters with contradicting characteristics and responses to a cultural collision in order to strengthen the theme:
Okonkwo In literature, there are many characters that stand out and show that they have a variety of qualities about them. In Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is one character that presents character traits from both the negative and positive sides of him. Okonkwo is portrayed to be a warrior who wanted to become somebody strong and looked up to, but also possesses less favorable qualities. He, however, does not let any one trait dictate his whole personality; he is written to be a well-rounded character.
He works hard to become a better person rather than his father. He is driven by fear of being like his father. He is determined to not resemble his father in any way. Okonkwo does not want to be like his father that’s why he strive to be the person he is now. His father has nothing going for himself he’s lazy and don’t want to be nothing in life.
The hatred that he had for his father he carried with him throughout his whole life. That hatred turned into him killing Ikemefuna and the messenger. Ikemefuna was thought of as a son and he killed him in fear of being considered weak in front of his clan members. That weakness was thought of his weakness which was considered a failure. At the end of the story Okonkwo ends up being just like his father which is ironic because he strived to be nothing like him.
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.
Additionally, although Nwoye is Okonkwo’s first-born son, he does not carry the pride of his father because he is a womanly son. In short, Nwoye should be Okonkwo’s most important child; however, Okonkwo prefers Ikemefuna and Enzinma over Nwoye. Ikemefuna is not even Okonkwo’s son, and Enzinma is not even a boy. To continue, this symbolizes the imbalance of the value between masculine and feminine traits. Although Nwoye is a boy, he has feminine traits.
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).
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.”
Things Fall Apart, a book written by the author Chinua Achebe is a story filled with amazing culture. It is about the rise and downfall of the main character, Okonkwo. The book had many different aspects of the African culture and the different time period. For example, characters and their importance throughout the story, and how women were treated in this culture and time period. Topics from religion, family, and the social complexity were very much involved throughout the entire book and portrayed by many of the characters.