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Wazz Up Essay

1439 words - 6 pages

Okonkwo achieves respect and high social status through his own heroic efforts despite being left with nothing but the dishonorable reputation of his “lazy and improvident” father. Toiling in the fields, enduring droughts, exhibiting fearless on the battlefield, and fueled by a burning desire to succeed, Okonkwo becomes a hero in Umuofia. Okonkwo’s success stems from his hard-work and perseverance, which he achieves in spite of his father’s shortcomings. He “lay[s] the foundations of a prosperous future” by slowly and painfully working like “one possessed” in order to escape “his father’s contemptible life and shameful death.” Okonkwo, so “possessed” with escaping the lingering reputation of his father, does anything in his power to earn respect. He gains respect and status by building up his wealth and reputation, which he displays by hosting sardanapalian feasts, and constantly renovating his expansive compound. Okonkwo also shapes his fate through his intense masculinity. His masculinity is best shown by his unmatched fearlessness in battle. Both in war and in wrestling, Okonkwo exhibits unmatched skill and fearlessness. Naturally, these important traits grant him respect in the patriarchal society of Umuofia, furthering Okonkwo’s is own goal of attaining high social status. The zenith of Onkowo’s heroism is his relentless endeavor to become titled. Even when misfortune forces him into exile, Okonkwo still has resolute belief that he will regain flourish and achieve his ultimate goal: “Some of these losses were not irreparable. He was determined that his return should be marked by his people. He would return with a flourish, and regain the seven wasted years. ... He saw himself taking the highest title in the land.” (pg. 171). Okonkwo’s confidence that he will flourish despite the near-catastrophe he has endured is beyond admirable. It signifies why he is so deserving of respect; he always has a clear focus on his goal, and perseveres through the challenges he faces. Onkowo’s heroism, which is displayed by his material wealth and noble status, is a testament to his dogged belief in his convictions.
Okonkwo's fear of being perceived as weak tragically leads to him to be unnecessarily violent and excessively prideful. These two fatal flaws lead to Okonkwo’s own emotional isolation, and his inevitable downfall. Driven by the fear of being seen as weak and emasculated, Okonkwo exhibits hyper masculinity and rage. Although this behavior initially leads to success in the patriarchal society of Umofia, rage is his greatest bane: it masks his compassion and pusillanimity. Onkonkwo’s obsession to never appear feminine is driven to the extreme. He denies affection even to his own family, “never show[ing] any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger. To [Okonkwo] show[ing] affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength.” (pg. 28). Okonkwo whose “whole life [is] dominated by fear, the fear of failure and...

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