Okonkwo's Ambition In Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, is a novel revealing the life and customs of a Nigerian village in the 1890’s. Okonkwo, the protagonist of the story, has a fear of becoming like his father, Unoka. Unoka, was a failure to his family and Umuofia. He was a lazy man who lacked power and respect from the people of Umuofia. From a very young age, Okonkwo makes a goal to be a powerful man, unlike his father. Okonkwo 's goal causes him to become an aggressive, power hungry, extremist in his culture and ostracizes him from his people because they can not understand his motives. Okonkwo 's fear of being like his father harbors an obsessive desire for power, which ultimately leads to his demise. Okonkwo 's fear of showing the weakness of his…show more content…
Okonkwo lacks respect for women or anyone who fits the stereotype of being feminine because his father 's failures made him an “agbala” or woman in Umuofia. Okonkwo wants to escape the reputation his father bestowed upon him. In order to escape this reputation Okonkwo constantly seeks to create a manly image for himself by disregarding everything associated with women in Ibo culture. Okonkwo 's disregard for the feminine guides his conscious to only make aggressive decisions that make him look powerful, which disables him from making clear judgements. As a result, when the British begin to colonize Umuofia, Okonkwo wants to go to war with them. He believes that anyone who converts to Christianity is feminine and weak for not fighting back. Okonkwo grasps onto his desire to be powerful and fight against their invader as the rest of Umuofia errs towards peace and converting to Christianity. His fear of being feminine like his father causes him to be defiant to the change around him. Okonkwo’s defiance results in him being alone in his venture for war against the British. He becomes extreme in his measures towards war and ostracizes himself from his people by telling them how feminine they are being by erring towards peace. Okonkwo 's fear of being feminine like his father causes him to become an extremist in his views. This fear and the extremes to which it carries Okonkwo cause him to lose respect and power amongst his people, ultimately leading to his demise. Okonkwo realizes he no longer has control over his people after he beheads a messenger in front of all of Umuofia. The reaction of Umuofia is contrary to what Okonkwo expected. The narrator describes their reaction on page 205 by stating, “Why did he do it?”. It is at this moment that Okonkwo realizes his people no longer understand him and he has no power in their eyes. Okonkwo’s innermost fear of being a woman like his father transforms him into being exactly like his father because he is powerless and
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