Okonkwo's Manliness In Things Fall Apart

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1. Okonkwo, the central character in Things Fall Apart, was manly, hard-working, and angry. At the beginning of the book, the first thing the author describes is Okonkwo’s manliness. His fame from wrestling along with his manly appearance made him manly. Okonkwo’s hard-working character was a result of him trying to be the opposite of his father, a lazy and unsuccessful man. The book says that Okonkwo started with nothing, saying “Okonkwo did not have the start in life which many young men had.” (18) Despite this, Okonkwo grew to be very successful; he had several barns full of yams and was married to three wives. Okonkwo’s anger resulted from his lust for manliness. The book says “Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion…show more content…
Sharing kola and speaking in proverbs were significant in Things Fall Apart. Kola was an important part of Igbo culture. People gave it to hosts when they visited, and is was significant because “he who brings kola brings life.” (6) It was clearly an important symbol of life or something else and was a special part of the culture. Igbo people often spoke in proverbs. For example, when Okoye was speaking to Unoka, he “said the next half a dozen sentences in proverbs.” (7) This is just one example of the way people spoke in Igbo culture. These customs were prevalent throughout the book and were clearly important aspects of Igbo…show more content…
Because Okonkwo fits four out of the five criteria of a tragic hero, he is a tragic hero. Because he was a successful leader and farmer and he earned this success without any help, Okonkwo is better than ourselves. According to the book, Okonkwo “neither inherited a barn nor a title, nor even a young wife.” (18) Despite the fact that he came from a failure of a father, Okonkwo managed to become wealthy and successful. Because of his anger, and his fear of being thought weak, Okonkwo was vulnerable. His anger made him do things without thinking, which could end up harming him. His fear of being thought weak made Okonkwo do everything he could to appear more manly, which could end up with him harming himself or others. Because of his vulnerabilities, Okonkwo’s downfall was his own fault. Due to his anger, Okonkwo beat his wife during the week of peace, violating the rules of the week. He also killed Ikemefuna because “[h]e was afraid of being thought weak.” (61) These two actions were Okonkwo’s fault, and were caused by his vulnerabilities. Because he lost his tribe and culture to the British missionaries and ended up committing suicide, Okonkwo’s punishment exceeded his crimes. Although his crimes were bad, he served his punishment for all of them. However, when he came back, Okonkwo’s tribe abandoned their culture for the Catholic one. This eventually led to Okonkwo’s suicide. He didn’t deserve either of these things. Because Okonkwo’s fall is a pure loss, he doesn’t fit
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