The Values and Beliefs of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart is a novel, which is directly focused on the tribes
and the local life of the native people. The protagonist in this novel
is a proud strict and tough man with the name of Okonkwo. Okonkwo was
born in the mid-nineteenth century, in the Igbo village of Umuofia,
(which we now know as southeastern Nigeria). Okonkwo's life was "dominated
by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness". His father was a man
who had no titles and was called a woman.
One main thing we learn in this novel is that these tribes hold great
respect for men who had a title. One man who didn't have any titles
and was referred to, as a woman was Okonkwos father. We are informed
of Oknokwos character with the following words "He had a slight
stammer and whenever he was angry and could not get his words out
quickly enough, he would use his fists. He had no patience with
unsuccessful men. He had no patience with his father".
This point is proved many times in the novel and one of the recurring
examples is the
Striking of his wives, where at on e stage he could have killed her by
shotting at her. The honour and beliefs Okonkwo follows are the same
as any other man in the tribe except that Oknokwos beliefs are to an
One thing we have to keep in mind is the fact that "his whole life was
dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper
and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of
magic, the fear of the forest, and the forces of nature, malevolent,
red in tooth and claw. Okonkwos fear was greater than these. It was
not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself
leat he should be found to resemble his father."
This great fear of weakness in Okonkwo is actually so great to an
extent that at times he is portrayed to see him as a cold hearted man
with no feelings whatsoever. This begins when we see him smack his
wife and most importantly when he finishes off killing Imkemfuna.
Imfemfuna lived with him for around three years and was becoming like
a son to him.
At this point we come to an important quote in the novel" and so
Okonkwo was ruled by one passion- to hate everything that his father
Unoka had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was
idleness." Okonkwo's fright of...