When Okonkwo's family is faced with a struggle, Okonkwo lets fear rule over his actions of his family’s protection. Okonkwo’s inner thoughts are revealed; “He tried not to think about Ikemefuna, but the more he tried, the more he thought about him” (Achebe 54). Okonkwo, although he seldom openly shows it, cares about his family. After Ikemefuna’s murder, Okonkwo’s true feelings are brought forth by the weak afterthoughts of the son he had grown to care for. Okonkwo’s fear of weakness is an internal conflict that affects Okonkwo through the book.
He shows great love and sympathy for his family and cares for them when his father chose to be idle. He also shows his sympathy to his children, biological or not. His unsympathetic tendencies distance him from the reader, he is violent and threatening. In either circumstance, Okonkwo proves to be a memorable character in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, because of his striking characteristics that show him to neither be a hero nor a villain, but a loving an abusive father.
Until the 1950’s most African literature was written by Europeans. Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian author, changed this standard in 1958, when he wrote Thing Fall Apart. In his novel, Achebe details the life of Okonkwo, an African man living in the village of Umuofia during the colonization of Nigeria. Okonkwo’s greatest struggle throughout his life and the novel is his fear of looking weak. His fear is apparent through his thoughts and actions.
Achebe writes, “ Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe 63). Many other members of the tribe would have let their son be killed because of the unwavering faith many have in their religion and the decisions of the elders. However, not many would do it themselves. This scene truly showcases Okonkwo’s fears.
Okonkwo wanted his tribe to fight back the missionaries in order to protect their Igbo culture but his persistence only led to his downfall. This can be seen when Okonkwo makes a rash decision to kill a messenger thinking Umuofia would fight back but ended up not fighting, “The white man whose power you know too well has ordered this meeting to stop.” In a flash, Okonkwo drew his machete. The messenger crouched to avoid the blow. It was useless.
In the story “Things Fall Apart”, Okonkwo is a character who is recognized as a successful wrestler, and a strong leader in the village Umuofia. Okonkwo is exiled to his mother’s village called Mbanta for seven years for killing Ezeudu’s sixteen-year-old son. Okonkwo finds out that his son Nwoye has joined Christianity and takes exception to it. Okonkwo beats Nwoye because he joins Christianity because he still hasn’t forgiven Okonkwo for killing Ikemefuna. Okonkwo has a response to the collision of his culture.
Albert Camus once said , “The byronic hero, incapable of love, or capable only of an impossible love, suffers endlessly. He is solitary, languid, and his conditions exhaust him. If he wants to feel alive, it must be in the terrible exaltation of a brief and destructive action.” In the novel, Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s arrogance and pride show him as a complex character. His anger and strong beliefs show him as a representative towards his society; However, change is unpredictable and unavoidable. Okonkwo’s motivations, character development, and interactions suggest that he is a byronic hero.
From being nothing in his village he rises to be a great, honorable, successful leader of umuofia. He also has a tragic flaw of being weak, failure and having fear that leads him to fail at things several times because of his fears. All of these failures then lead him to his suicide. Finally, he finds his own tragic fate because of his murder of the missionaries court messenger during his villages meeting. Though Okonkwo's life started out as one of the most successful and leading men of Umuofia but because of his violent and impulsive characteristics, even the most successful and well-respected man can fall from his
He killed him because he didn’t want to be seen as weak or as a female. Another example is “Okonkwo didn’t taste any food for two days after Ikemefuna's death. ”(page 63) This detail is important because this shows the after feeling Okonkwo had after killing Ikemefuna. To wrap up, these pieces of evidence supports how the author critiques the dominant narrative about Okonkwo by showing him
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.
Among those of the same culture, individuals who are adaptive and open-minded can be successful when there is cultural collision. When the Igbo and European cultures collide, Okonkwo gradually spirals out of control, losing everything he values and his own sense of self. From the beginning of the novel, Achebe depicts Okonkwo as a virile warrior and a successful farmer within the Igbo tribe. Reacting with violence to anything he considers “womanly” or “weak”, “He was a man of action and man of war” (10). Because of his reputation as a warrior he is highly respected by his community.
Okonkwo was one of the most famous and fearful member not only of his clan in Umuofia but other nine villages as well. He worked hard to become a renowned and prosperous member of his clan and to break away from the legacy of his father Okoye who was referred to as ‘agbala’, a man who has not won any title and was another word for woman. Okonkwo was not an evil man but his life was dominated by fear of weakness and failure which made him extremely violent and aggressive. He hated everything associated with his father- music, gentleness and laziness. But much to the anguish of Okonkwo, Nwoye embodied most of his grandfather’s traits and this enraged Okonkwo deeply.
Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Chinua Achebe. In the novel there is a main character called Okonkwo. He lived in Umuofia where he was also known throughout many of the nine villages around Umuofia. In the beginning of the story we see his overwhelming hatred towards his father Unoka. His father died about ten years ago and had not taken any title and was very much in debt.
Okonkwo starts to scorn Obierika for not coming to kill Ikemefuna. Obierika then said that Okonkwo shouldn’t have gone. What Okonkwo did is the type of deeds that the gods punish. It is against their traditions to kill a kinsmen. Okonkwo shows up for the negotiation of the bride price.