This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

1767 words - 7 pages

In Chinua Achebe’s Classic 1959 novel Things Fall Apart, we are faced with the foreign ways of the Ibo people of present-day Nigeria. The story is told through the experiences and often times thoughts of protagonist Okonkwo, an imperfect but respected clansman whose fear of appearing weak drives every decision he makes. In the peak of conflict, Okonkwo is exiled for seven years, loses much of the esteem he had gained and finds his bad Chi to be to blame. Eventually, this leads him to commit suicide. However, despite his belief that his Chi is blocking his good efforts, Okonkwo does have good Chi and free will, and it is his fear of weakness that truly brings upon his downfall.
Okonkwo has many flaws that Achebe points out to us. The most critical of which is that he is afraid of being weak, or being perceived as such. Early in the Novel Achebe writes, “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness…It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father” (Achebe 13). As the driving factor in Okonkwo’s life, it plays a role in every single step that leads him to his eventual suicide. It is apparent that this is a flaw in Okonkwo’s character for it is not celebrated in the culture. By showing us this, Achebe is creating a classic tragic hero. The protagonist of the story has a fatal flaw, fear of weakness and unbalance that leads to his downfall. Achebe would see this as a serious character flaw because of the culture he comes from (Okafor).
Okonkwo is also unbalanced, another trait that is frowned upon by his society. Wise men, such as the elder Ogbuefi Ezedu, or Okonkwo’s friend Obierkia have a balance of warlike aggression and calm compassion (Achebe 66). Clement Okafor, in an essay about Things Fall Apart and Ibo culture notes this issue with Okonkwo’s life. “Okonkwo’s problems also emanate from his inability to practice another Ibo ideal, balance in one’s assessment of situations” (Okafor 72). Okafor enlightens us about the opinion the Ibo people hold about an unbalanced mind like Okonkwo’s. From this we can infer that it is a major factor in his downfall.
Okonkwo is afraid of being weak, and one of the things he considers to be weak is outward expression of love (Achebe 28). This is not representative of the culture, for the relationship between fathers and sons is celebrated (Okafor 74). Okafor implies that it is good to love one’s family. Okonkwo’s relationships with his biological son Nwoye, and his adopted son Ikemefuna are explored throughout the novel. The wedge that is driven between him and Nwoye is not described as a healthy situation, because it is important to the culture to have a strong father-son relationship. Instead of allowing himself to love the boy, he is more concerned with ensuring he does not end up a failure like Okonkwo’s own father (Achebe 13). Likewise, he will not allow himself to love Ikemefuna either...

Find Another Essay On Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

960 words - 4 pages Okonkwo is not all that he may seem; as there is more than what meets the eye. Okonkwo is the primary protagonist within the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Okonkwo is a cruel yet kind man who has everything yet has nothing, which in turn creates a sympathetic character. A character such as Okonkwo has many facets; or masks if you will. Then we have his many influences: the Ibo culture; his father Unoka and of course his own personality

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

1812 words - 8 pages listen to the reason behind the decisions made by his community and in turn reacts irrationally and irresponsibly to the situation. Overall, Okonkwo’s fear of failing suppresses his potential to enjoy life, rather than living life just to make others think highly of him. Okonkwo’s inability to subdue his lifelong fear of failure limits him to react irrationally to situations without processing what is happening with reason, and ultimately the mistakes Okonkwo makes throughout his life add up and lead to his conclusive demise, suicide. Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print.

"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe

1462 words - 6 pages The novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, describes a traditional village in Africa called Ibo. Achebe is trying to tell the outside world about the little village and to remind the people of its own traditional values. In those days, many Africans were just willing to accept that there culture as nothing and full of rubble, as the European influence grew. In this novel Achebe will enlighten the reader with fascinating descriptions and

Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

1412 words - 6 pages In this world, there are many types of religions and cultures, each having its own views on life and how one should live. Not everyone decides to accept a specific religion, but they are handed their culture and way of living. The environment that one is raised in becomes one's culture. In the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the Ibo culture reveals a lot about itself. It showed the uniqueness of this particular culture. The uniqueness

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

1281 words - 6 pages In the book, Things Fall Apart, there are a couple of folktales that are extended throughout the book. These folktales contributes to and comments on the central narrative of the story. Animals and folktales were important to the Igbo people. They used animals in fables and stories to demonstrate their beliefs and rituals. With all rituals, animals and symbols play a crucial role in Igbo society. The fable of the Tortoise and the Birds has

Gender Roles in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

2367 words - 9 pages , acceptance, and peace which many of the Igbo people were seeking. They did not find it in Igbo religion, so they looked elsewhere. If Okonkwo and Umofia had properly balanced the traits of fatherhood and motherhood, then their children would not have forsaken them and their lives would not have fallen apart. Primary Source Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Random House, 1994. Secondary Sources Iyasẹre, Solomon Ogbede

Analytical Analysis Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

1239 words - 5 pages taking one's own life was an evil doing against the earth. But the customs of the village were deteriorating, so remaining true to this custom almost seems pointless after so many of their customs have become empty of significance with the onset of colonialism.Work CitedAchebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: First Anchor Books Edition, 1994..

Theme of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

731 words - 3 pages Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel set in Nigeria at the time that it was first being colonized by Europeans. The novel is centered on the character Okonkwo, who was at the beginning of the novel a great and respected man in his village, Umuofia. Okonkwo was a rich man with three wives and several children who held an important leader position in the village. The main focus of the book is on the changes that take place not only in

Cultural Change Explored in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

1882 words - 8 pages becomes clear that these people are a ‘disease’ poisoning the society of African tribes according to Okonkwo and many others. Change can be truly classified as a positive or negative aspect in the lives of countless African men, women and children, but is the change in African tribes for the better or for worse? Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: Heinemann New Windmills, 1958. Print Kortenaar, Neil Ten. “Becoming

Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe Okonkwo's internal struggle

1118 words - 4 pages In Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, one man who is both mentally and physically strong, is plagued with "failure and weakness"(p.13), which eventually causes his self-destruction. This man struggles to get through his unsolvable problems, which is a hopeless effort, that ends up killing him. The three main events that cause Okonkwo to be pushed to the limit are: the death of his adopted son Ikemefuna, his eldest son becoming a Christian

Songs Relating to "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe

1204 words - 5 pages , but because of the lack of rain they are not able to harvest as well as they wished they could have.A Forest- The CureThe song A Forest is about a person looking for a girl in the forest. He hears her calling her name and keeps running after her through the trees. In the end he realizes he is alone in the forest and the girl was never really there at all.This relates to Things Fall Apart because in chapter 11 Ezinma is taken away by the priestess

Similar Essays

Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

1126 words - 5 pages mistreatment shows a large amount of emotional strength. This reflection of Ibo women that one gleans from Things Fall Apart can also be seen in real Ibo culture, as women are treated and act in very parallel ways. (Kramer) It is clear that Achebe is not being sexist when he talks about women in his novel; instead he is relaying facts about the real life tribe. In conclusion, Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart is not being sexist. He uses this

Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

1105 words - 4 pages Umuofia is a village in Africa, and the inhabitants there are usually united. However, when the Christians arrive and permeate the village, the clan changes but also falls apart. The novel in which this story takes place is called Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The story is about a well-respected man named Okonkwo who has three wives and many children, the oldest being Nwoye. Okonkwo is banished for seven years from Umuofia, and during

"Things Fall Apart" By Chinua Achebe

567 words - 2 pages In the novel 'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe, a society is presented to us, a society that has its faults and mistakes. Achebe creates a world of people who like us are human and make common mistakes. He explains the complexity of these people and how the colonization had affected their clan. His objective is not farther towards one side as to the other, yet in some occasions it may feel so.There is a constant balance between reason and

"Things Fall Apart" By Chinua Achebe

562 words - 2 pages An African man, Chinua Achebe, wrote the novel, "Things Fall Apart", at the age of 26. The story portrays his theme of life, 'when one thing stands another stands beside it'. The main character, Okonkwo, lead a somewhat complicated life. As it began, it was ruled by courage and strength, but he chose to end it with a weak escape from every challenge he had ever been given, suicide.As his life began he was given nothing. His father, Unoka, was a