Okonkwo's Grief In Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

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Okonkwo’s Grief

There are five stages of grief that a human experiences when faced with any type of breakup, and these stages play a significant role in Chinua Achebe’s book, Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo, the main character, suffers a breakup with his tribe when his gun explodes and kills another member of the tribe. Killing another member of the tribe is a grievous offense, and no matter how unintentional, the killing results in seven years of exile. Torn away from his tribe, friends, rank, and future as a great leader, Okonkwo undergoes the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The first stage in grief is denial, when a person hopes that the breakup was not real or only momentary, giving themselves time to adjust to the situation. When Okonkwo arrives at Mbanta, his mother’s homeland, his uncle holds a meeting with his family and specifically addresses Okonkwo. He tells of how after a child has been beaten by its father, it will go to its mother for comfort. He relates this to Okonkwo’s breakup with his tribe, where Okonkwo is beaten or exiled from his fatherland and sent to his motherland to recover. His uncle asks him,”Is it right that you, Okonkwo, should bring to your mother a heavy face and refuse to be comforted?”(Achebe 134). This is evidence of Okonkwo’s denial of the breakup with his tribe. Often when a person is in denial they will refuse to be comforted, deceiving themselves into believing that they do not need comfort
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