Essay on Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart

Essay on Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart

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In the book “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, the main character, Okonkwo, centers his life on the concept of honor. Okonkwo’s believes that honor can only be achieved through glory, masculinity, and gaining power over others. Even in his youth, Okonkwo was determined to be one of the most honorable men in the village and to not live the life of his father who was a complete failure. He based his life upon fighting, blood, and money because his father was weak and feared the sight of blood and had many debts. “Whenever the thought of his father’s weakness and failure troubled him he expelled it by thinking about his own strength and success” (Achebe, 66).
Okonkwo is so apprehensive about becoming even slightly similar to his father that he values become obscured. He believes that his behavior constitutes masculinity only when he has become a polar opposite of his father. However, this masculinity entitles aggression and leading with fear; therefore, Okonkwo often loses his temper, which ultimately leads to his unhappiness. He also refuses to give affection toward his family because his father portrayed similar actions.
Okonkwo is so absorbed in the concept of masculinity and honor that when Ogbuefi tells Okonkwo that the Oracle decreed that Okonkwo must kill his adopted son, he has no objections. However, Okonkwo’s honor was diminished at the funeral of Ezeudu, when his gun accidentally misfired and killed a clansman, and he had to flee the village to his mother’s land. He spends the rest of his life being discontent with the exile, even after he is accepted back into his village seven years later, because his goal in life was to be successful, influential, and honored. He is also angry that his clan has become “womanly” af...


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...nd value, his quest for happiness results in misery for those he encounters. Through his journey, Faust meets a young, innocent, virgin named Gretchen. He seduces the poor girl, kills her mother and brother, impregnates her, and causes her to become imprisoned all in a short amount of time all because of his selfish conquest for honor and wealth.
Each of these characters showed similarities in the ways they valued honor. Okonkwo, Hector, and Faust valued honor in having beautiful women. All of the characters thought power and wealth construed honor. However, they differed in whether power came from fighting, leadership roles, the way they died, or knowledge. The concept of honor has evolved and changed throughout history. However, one aspect of how honor is measured seems to have remained the same. Glory and recognition were an important value that came with honor.

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