The book “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe is a fictional look at the social and cultural life of an African tribe of the lower Niger River region. It depicts the every day life of the tribe and its members. It also shows the culture and customs of the tribe.
The book focuses on one of the tribe members, Okonkwo. He is a well respected member of the tribe. Okonkwo is a good example of a respected member of the tribe who also has great renown. He is known as a great wrestler and warrior of the nine villages of the tribe. He is a very powerful and influential member.
Throughout the story, certain unfortunate events occur, preventing Okonkwo’s rise to the top. Those who knew his father knew him to be lazy and unmanly. This is something that Okonkwo would spend his life trying to change.
Okonkwo is depicted in the story to be a very strong and fearless man, ruling his household with a firm hand. He stifles any emotion that would make him seem weak or like a woman. He shows little affection toward his children and his wives.
His greatest disappointment is the fact that his son is not turning out to be the man that Okonkwo wants him to be. He sees his father in his son, Nwoye, rather than himself. This is greatly displeasing to Okonkwo. This might be why Nwoye’s mother is never mentioned by name, since she produced a “woman” for a son. He does find that Ikemefuna, a boy brought into Okonkwo’s home from another village, is turning out to be a better son than Nwoye. Eventually though, Okonkwo realizes that the boy must die. Though it is obvious that he is disturbed by this, he does not show it, and even slays the boy himself, lest he should be thought weak.
This is one example of Okonkwo’s character. He is willing to put aside all feelings he has for the boy in order to do what he feels must be done to retain his sense of strength.
During a burial ceremony for one of the tribesmen, Okonkwo accidentally kills the dead man’s son. The prescribed punishment for this is exile for seven years. Okonkwo and his family then move to his mother’s old tribe to serve his exile.
This accidental death is just one of many crushing incidences Okonkwo has to...