During the early chapters, the audience see Okonkwo's negative impact on his own family being abusive and dismissive. When talking to his daughter Ezinma he always wishes she had been born a boy due to her character. Even after going through a rough time after killing Ikemefuna when Ezinma tries to comfort him he just thinks to himself how better it would be if she were a boy ”She should have been a boy okonkwo said to himself again”(Achebe 64). When talking about Nyowe he refers to him as lazy and nothing like him most likely thinking of his father who had lived a lazy lifestyle which he is strongly against. Once ikemefuna is settled in after being home sick he becomes a part of the family helping out with tasks “Okonkwo and the two boys were working on the red outer walls of the compound”(Achebe 55).
Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger. To show affection was a sign of weakness, the only thing worth demonstrating was strength. He therefore treated Ikemefuna as he treated everybody else--with a heavy hand. But there was no doubt he liked the boy. Sometimes when he went to big village meetings or communal ancestral feasts he allowed Ikemefuna to accompany him, like a son, carrying his stool and his goatskin bag.
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
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.
Okonkwo’s aggressive ways caused Nwoye to rely on Ikemefuna, A boy given to Okonkwo by a neighboring village, as an older brother who teaches him a more gentle form of masculinity. The bond between Nwoye and Ikemefuna was stronger than the bond between Nwoye and Okonkwo ever was because of Okonkwo’s refusal to demonstrate affection towards his son as it could make him appear weak. However, because of the death of Ikemefuna, Nwoye fears having to return to the harsh values of his father. Okonkwo’s stubborn ideas of masculinity ruined his relationship with his son beyond repair. Okonkwo’s refusal to show emotion towards his family pushed them apart which shows that Okonkwo is not willing to give up his stern values and reputation to be emotionally committed to his family.
As the men continue celebrating, Okonkwo makes a crucial mistake by firing his gun prematurely, thus killing the dead warrior’s sixteen-year-old son. Although an accident, it violated the traditions of the village, and Okonkwo and his family were exiled. To add insult to injury, Okonkwo’s compound was burnt down to erase his presence from the village. Achebe uses this scene to challenge the Western claim that African societies lack a justice system. This scene clearly demonstrates how the Igbo people successfully implemented a working legal system and used it to punish Okonkwo and quickly usher him out of the village.
Ikemefuna and Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, were really close as Nwoye looked up to Ikemefuna as a role model and older brother. After the clan decided that they had to kill Ikemefuna the elders told Okonkwo not to get involved since they had a really close relationship. Even though they said that Okonkwo still got involved in the murder and killed him with a matchet. This quote shows us that even though they had a very close relationship Okonkwo took up a matchet and killed Ikemefuna just to show his manliness. Okonkwo’s decision of killing Ikemefuna was a bad decision because after this many horrible events soon
This also represents the importance of image to him and shows that he is self-conscious about himself. “‘We shall not do you any harm,’ said the District Commissioner..” (Achebe 194). This is quite ironic since the Europeans ended up abusing Okonkwo and his comrades and eventually destroying the Igbo culture. In this quote the author is implying that in the European's’ perspective, they are doing a good thing for the Igbo in the Umuofia by changing their beliefs, but in reality they are destroying their culture which the foundation and the identity of the Igbo.
The hatred that he had for his father he carried with him throughout his whole life. That hatred turned into him killing Ikemefuna and the messenger. Ikemefuna was thought of as a son and he killed him in fear of being considered weak in front of his clan members. That weakness was thought of his weakness which was considered a failure. At the end of the story Okonkwo ends up being just like his father which is ironic because he strived to be nothing like him.
In the Ibo hierarchal society, women are the subject of unequal treatment and patronization. They are considered weak and are not given any power. As the novel, Things Fall Apart unravels, the author, Chinua Achebe reveals the distinct attributes of femininity. Feminine traits are also viewed with disdain in Umuofian society, especially by the protagonist of the novel, Okonkwo. His past experiences shape his disposition and give rise to his stereotypical mentality; however, several events contradict the prevalent perspective of women, leading to Okonkwo facing conflicts within himself.
When Ikemefuna runs towards him, “Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe 13). Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna because he is afraid someone will believe he is weak and similar to his unsuccessful father. He lets this fear of compassion and failing control his life and his decisions. When he is faced with a difficult choice he completes the action that will portray him as a man and not as an agbala, a woman.
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
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.