Okonkwo Masculinity Analysis

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“Black men struggle with masculinity so much. The idea that we must always be strong really presses us all down - it keeps us from growing” (“Donald Glover Quotes), says Donald Glover, a famous African-American actor. This is shown during the book, “Things Fall Apart”, by Chinua Achebe. Okonkwo, the main character, hates his father who acts very feminine according to their tribe’s definition and is not successful at all, but still lives life to the fullest. Okonkwo’s actions are based on his fear of becoming like his father so he rejects all characteristics that his father had (feminine qualities). According to Okonkwo’s tribe, the Igbo, masculinity is being strong, aggressive, and nourishing. Femininity is being weak, loving, compassionate, and devotional. Achebe highlights the definitions of masculinity and femininity to show that Okonkwo’s hypermasculinity causes his downfall. Okonkwo is trying to act too masculine and by completely rejecting feminine qualities, he sets up his destiny to be his downfall. The first instance in which things fall apart for Okonkwo is when a tribute from another village has to stay with Okonkwo for three years. During those three years, Okonkwo and the tribute, Ikemefuna, become like father and son, but after the three years are over, the oracle proclaims that Ikemefuna must die. As Ikemefuna unknowingly walks to his old village with Okonkwo and some other men, they start to close in on him and when Ikemefuna runs to Okonkwo, “Okonkwo drew
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