Things Fall Apart Diction Analysis

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Throughout the passage from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Achebe meticulously integrates diction that evokes both strength and vulnerability, repetition of questions that Okonkwo asks himself, and a depressed tone from his point of view following Ikemefuna’s death. These methods enable Achebe to not only emphasize the importance of masculinity and unfair gender roles to Okonkwo and in Igbo society, but also to illuminate how Okonkwo’s perception of fear being associated with weakness and femininity eventually drives him into disbelief and remorse as well as reveals his insecurities. One of Achebe’s most evident devices in the passage is his use of diction tied with masculinity to elucidate the male dominance and distinct gender roles that exist among the people of Igbo. Okonkwo justifies his own manhood by recalling how he was known for his “valor in war” and for being the “man who has killed five men in battle”(Achebe 65). Although he is clearly disturbed from killing Ikemefuna, Okonkwo refuses to show any weakness or in his case, qualities resembling femininity that may affect his reputation as being powerful. His obsession with masculinity which was derived from his father’s shortcomings even prompts him to believe that his own daughter Ezinma should have been “a…show more content…
Okonkwo asks himself, “you are known in all the nine villages for your valour in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number?”(Achebe 65). These repetitive questions cause Okonkwo to go in a state of disbelief and reveal his insecurities and self-doubt, even prompting him to call himself a woman. What was once a powerful man that had displayed his “valor in war” has now ironically become the essence of everything he has feared: his
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