Okonkwo In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

963 words - 4 pages

Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart   

Okonkwo, as presented by Chinua Achebe in the novel Things Fall Apart, wished to be revered by all as a man of great wealth, power and control--the antithesis of his father. Okonkwo was driven by the need to exhibit utmost control over himself and others; he was an obsessive and insecure man.

Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was "a failure," "a loafer," and "People laughed at him" (1426). This would bring great shame to any man as it did for Okonkwo. In Umuofia "a man is judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father" (1427). In Umuofia "achievement was revered." Okonkwo became obsessed with the need to prove to everyone that he, unlike his father, was a man worthy of respect.

Okonkwo worked hard and in time his "prosperity showed in his household" (1429). Okonkwo had "a large compound," "three wives" (1429), "two barns full of yams" and "two titles" (1427). Okonkwo had become a wealthy and respectable man. Still he feared that all would fall apart if he were to allow any slight deviation, any sign of weakness.

Weakness could be a slight disobedience of a wife, as happened during the "Week of Peace." Ojiugo was not home in time to prepare Okonkwo's meal and though it was "unheard of to beat someone during the sacred week" (1435), Okonkwo beat Ojiugo unmercifully. Likely, Okonkwo feared that others would view Ojiugo's indifference to her responsibilities as a sign of Okonkwo's inability to control his wife.

Okonkwo was just as demanding upon his children and he wanted his "son to be a great farmer and a great man" (1437). Okonkwo would become overly angry if Nwoye made small mistakes while learning. When Nwoye and Ikemefuna were splitting yams for planting, Okonkwo "found fault with their efforts, and he said so with much threatening," such as "I shall break your jaw" (1437).

While Okonkwo could be sensitive and caring, his obsession with control would not allow him to show it. Enzima, whom he "was especially fond of" (1441), became ill and was taken to the cave by Chielo. Ekwefi followed Chielo and the girl from a distance as she feared for her daughter's life. Okonkwo seemed to be unconcerned: "He had felt very anxious but did not show it." Unknown to Ekwefi, Okonkwo had made four trips to the cave before he found Ekwefi and "by then had become gravely worried" (1468). Okonkwo had waited to follow; he had "allowed what he regarded as a reasonable and manly interval to pass" before he went to the cave the first time (1468). To show his own fears and worries would show lack of control.

When it was "pronounced" that Ikemefuna should be killed, Okonkwo not only went along with the other men, he also "drew his machete and cut him...

Find Another Essay On Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

Okonkwo as Classic Greek Hero in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1785 words - 7 pages Okonkwo as Classic Greek Hero in Things Fall Apart       A sense of foreboding envelops us from the first. We sense all will not end well for Umuofia. The chill of fear grips us as the world of Okonkwo and his clan truly falls apart. Okonkwo will need all of his power to fight the forces against his world, but tragically he is crippled by the most destructive malady of all, fear of himself. Achebe employs the form of classical Greek

Essay on Okonkwo and Nwoye in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1465 words - 6 pages Understanding Okonkwo and Nwoye in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart   Two passages from the story Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, provide the reader with a more profound understanding of Okonkwo, and his son Nwoye.  The two do not have a good relationship and it becomes worse as the story progresses.   Throughout the book the two become increasingly distant and it is apparent that Okonkwo is very disappointed in his son.  After the death

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1413 words - 6 pages Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart The last chapter of Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" concludes with the sentence: "He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger." This refers to the District Commissioner's chosen title for a book he has written that would have the African people, the Igbo tribe specifically, as the main subject. From the title itself

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1067 words - 5 pages elderly. Although the social structure played an essential role in balancing life in the society, it played a more significant role in the demise of the Igbo community. Because of their rigid structure, the people isolated the osu, or the outcasts, outside their society. Due to their actions, this led the osu to convert to the new religion. The Igbo people were not able to cooperate with the new religion that was imposed upon them and eventually led to the rise of disunity.   Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: William Heinemann Limited, 1959. Print.

Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"

947 words - 4 pages INTRODUCTION:Chinua Achebe has penned the book "Things Fall Apart" as retaliation against the Western books portraying African cultures and tribal religions as brutal, savage and animalistic. He attempts to portray through his book that the people of the African Igbo tribe are not savages or mindless tribals, they are a people with a history and a culture and a well thought out way of life. He also tries to give a realistic portrayal of the Igbo

Analysis of Achebe's Impartiality in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1116 words - 4 pages Achebe's Impartiality In Things Fall Apart      Knowledge of Africa and the inhabitants of the massive continent were often portrayed as barbaric beasts by the first missionaries to enter the land.  Because of skewed writings by European missionary workers, a picture was painted for their readership of a savage Africa saved only by the benevolent, civilized western influence.  Achebe successfully attempts to redirect this attitude. Achebe

Okonkwo: the Noble Savage in Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"

1762 words - 7 pages In Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo functions as the protagonist of the novel. He is the first to be referred to in the novel and the last. He is portrayed by Achebe as a tragic hero in the classical sense. Apart from all his virtues, Okonkwo's few but hideous weaknesses lead to his drastic tragic end. His rise and fall is described in a culture that is bound by traditions and superstition.Achebe succeeds to convey Okonkwo's heroic figure to

Masculinity in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Okonkwo

2292 words - 9 pages committed suicide. An action which, according to Bennett, ‘‘in many ways, Okonkwo's tragic death results directly from his inability to balance these competing demands of individuality and community’’ (Bennett.9). Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Francis Abiola Irele. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. Print. Criswell, Stephen. "Okonkwo As Yeatsian Hero: The Influence of W. B. Yeats on Chinua Achebe's

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Inevitable Suffering in Tragedies

639 words - 3 pages that Okonkwo brings upon his clansmen in Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart contributes to the tragic vision of the work as a whole by emphasizing how much control man has over his own suffering, especially when he is an instrument that brings pain upon others as well.Early on in the novel readers are introduced to Okonkwo's hamartia: the fear of appearing weak. This affects his temperament and the relationship he chooses to have with his

Fate and Free Will in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1345 words - 5 pages Fate and Free Will in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart     The tragic story of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart offers many examples of Igbo beliefs regarding free will and fate. Religious life for the Igbo was thoroughly intertwined with secular life. According to the text, the Igbo believed in fate; that nothing happened by chance as every happenstance was the result of Chukwu or God's will. Yet the Igbo also believed

Okonkwo's Tragic Flaws in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

3121 words - 12 pages characters, like Odysseus and Oedipus for instance, exemplify the excess of some positive character trait, like pride or honesty, which ironically leads to their personal misfortune. Throughout literary history, particularly within Grecian writings and apparently still evident in today's international pieces, there exists continuity within the human fear of failure. Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, details a remote native African society

Similar Essays

Okonkwo As Epic Hero In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

994 words - 4 pages Okonkwo as Epic Hero in Things Fall Apart       Achebe’s work, Things Fall Apart, is an epic; it resembles stories about heroes found in many cultures. In these stories, the heroes are extraordinary individuals, whose careers and destinies are not theirs alone, but are bound with the fortunes and destinies of their society. They become heroes by accomplishing great things for themselves and their communities, winning much fame as a result

The Character Of Okonkwo In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1942 words - 8 pages The Character of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart What makes a successful man? This, in itself, is a culture bound question because it can vary from culture to culture. However, in the perception of Okonkwo, the main character in Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, the measure of a man's success is based on two elements, material acquisition and growth, and physical prowess. This is ironic for Okonkwo since

Existentialism In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1779 words - 7 pages Existentialism in Things Fall Apart          Chinua Achebe presents his audience with an interesting twist to a contemporary school of thought in his work Things Fall Apart.  This post-colonization narrative incorporates several traits that revolt against normative philosophic systems and tralititious theories and beliefs of the existence of man and his place in the universe.  Achebe's efforts are characterized by a small diverse

Gender In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1920 words - 8 pages unwarranted and unfair. Select Bibliography Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Ibadan: Heinnemann, 1962 Kabbani, Rana. Imperial Fictions: Europe's Myths of Origin. London: Pandora, 1986. Petersen, Kristen. "First Things First: Problems of a Feminist Approach to African Literature". In Griffith, Ashcroft, Tiffin Ed The Post-Colonial Studies Reader.