TFA Essay Our lives are centered around our culture and beliefs, we are influenced by our peers about our beliefs to the point where it may cause things to fall apart, with many up and down situations. In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, we learn about an Ibo culture that believe in male masculinity and dominance, expected from a very young age for boys to be very masculine and rule over women. Anyone who disobeys those priorities are shunned by their own culture and considered weak worthless men. This story is told with many interesting different themes, but in my perspective one theme that captured my attention the most was masculinity, like I had mentioned before. The main character Okonkwo, revolves around showing no emotion and being masculine, his whole life is based upon the belief of male masculinity and hard work. He does not accept any failure or weakness from himself or any of his family members, putting his pride on being a well respected masculine man unlike his father Unoka. …show more content…
He was a caring man down in his heart but “his whole life was dominated by the fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (Achebe 13), and his mission to become one of the greatest men of his clan. Okonkwo was devoted to masculinity, he put it above anything else preventing anyone from questioning his masculinity. When he felt a slight sign of weakness it reminded him of his fathers failure to being a true man not providing for his family or ruling women and his children, therefore “he was not really a man” (Achebe 53).There were many traits to being a masculine man but to Okonkwo the main one was ruling his wife and children, if any of them had disobeyed him he would beat them without hesitation or regret. Although Okonkwo is influenced by masculinity it is because the Ibo culture believes in men dominating women which leads their society to fall
The author, Chinua Achebe, used Okonkwo as an example of the father/son conflict and how the conflict affects a man’s life. Just because one does not always act like the typical strong, almost emotionless man, that does not mean one is coward. Okonkwo’s thought process leads to his demise because he cannot bear to see the strong willed tribe and culture he has known his whole life fail him: just
The novel “things fall apart” is about the fatal demise of Okonkwo and the igbo culture of Umuofia. Okonkwo is well known and respected leader in his community, who is successful in everything he does, such as wrestling and farming. He is quick with his hands and takes pride in his accomplishments. Okonkwo’s family relationship makes him a sympathetic character because of his support and an unsympathetic character because of his cruelty. In many ways Okonkwo showed that he had no sympathy for others , However at times he could be sympathetic.
Okonkwo constantly struggled to create the same masculine character in Nwoye that he made for himself and constantly found a reflection of his effeminate father, Unoka, in Nwoye. Chapter two describes the relationship between Okonkwo and Nwoye in Nwoye’s youth. “Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness... He sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating” (13-14). Okonkwo’s efforts to change Nwoye’s resemblance of Unoka were causing their relationship to be pushed apart because of Okonkwo’s violence and Nwoye’s resistance.
In the book “Things Fall Apart“ Okonkwo is a very strong man and from time to time he starts showing his true self. He has a lot of responsibilities and other things he has to do around the living environment and interact with lots of people. Okonkwo changes from being that strong man, to a man who feels like his tribe is not with him when he wants to go to war with the missionaries. For someone like Okonkwo a lot of people looks up to him and while in the tribe Okonkwo beats his wives and children. Not good behavior for someone who is supposedly looked at as strong.
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.
He was too proud to let his tribe give up their warlike history. He was to proud and self-assured to accept his son's choices. Okonkwo is a sad character whose pride has constantly led him down the crooked path. Achebe shows that being proud isn't a constructive thing for the future. That development can only occur when pride is put aside, and people think logically instead of
Okonkwo In literature, there are many characters that stand out and show that they have a variety of qualities about them. In Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is one character that presents character traits from both the negative and positive sides of him. Okonkwo is portrayed to be a warrior who wanted to become somebody strong and looked up to, but also possesses less favorable qualities. He, however, does not let any one trait dictate his whole personality; he is written to be a well-rounded character.
Okonkwo was a big supporter of physical and verbal abuse in his home, especially towards his wives and Nwoye. To Okonkwo, physical abuse was another language. This is how he spoke, and punished, on the occasion of the abuse, and how he had handled the situation. Women was treated poorly in Umuofia because men believe that they were weak and in inadequate. “ Even as a little boy Okonkwo had represented his father 's failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate had told him that his father was Agbala.
Okonkwo uses these traits to differentiate from Unoka and he even feels most like himself when he exhibits violent behavior in order to assert his power and authority over others. Literary critic Christopher Ouma affirmed Okonkwo’s genuine intention to change how he is regarded in society.
His fear of weakness and failure is derived from his father, Unoka’s failures, which ignite Okonkwo’s misogynistic views. Throughout his lifetime, Okonkwo associates femininity with weakness because of Unoka, who was called an “agbala” or woman by the people of Umuofia. Since women have this reputation for weakness, Okonkwo lives with constant fear that he will be given the same title as his father. Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye’s effeminacy reminds Okonkwo of his own father. He says, "I have done my best to make Nwoye grow into a man, but there is much of his mother in him ."(Achebe, 66).
Okonkwo devotes his life to becoming the opposite of his unsuccessful father. This need to become masculine introduces his fear: “But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of
Many aspects of their lives have men as the prominent heads of their households, but women also have some importance in many of the concepts. In the novel Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe presents the idea of how Igbo culture and religion define the roles for each gender and examines how unequal roles in society can lead to conflicts between each gender in order to illustrate how they can lead to permanently damaged relationships. The main driving forces behind gender role beliefs in Things Fall Apart are a result of the ideologies set by the Ibo people. Their culture dictated men as stronger people who did more work, while women were dictated as individuals who were weak and inferior because they did household activities.
The inability for Okonkwo to be weak makes him solely cruel and with a weak father like Unoka he felt forced to adapt opposite ideals. Chinua Achebe shows how Okonkwo had to make a life for himself as his father had not allowed for many opportunities for him to come in play. Later the author of the article, Psychology & Behavioral Health Vol.2 the author talks about the motivation that it takes to overcome and cope with the fears that prohibit him from growing and being he optimal version of himself. Fight or flight is described as a physiological
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.
Feminist Theory In Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, they recognize the life of the Igbos which are a tribe in the village of Umuofia during European colonization. There are many topics brought up in this book like the effects of colonization, culture and tradition, religion, race, etc. It is relatively easy to read “Things Fall Apart” as an anti-feminist text due to the face that the Igbo clan’s customs and traditions seem to side towards masculine features, such as power and strength. The novel is told through a male protagonist’s point of view in nineteenth century Nigeria, while women there do not have much rights, they do wield heavy influence over the leaders of the clan.