In these few chapters that we read, we have already learned a lot about Okonkwo, his life, and how he shows sympathy to some, but to others he is heartless. Okonkwo is other wise known as an unsympathetic person. Okonkwo is a clan leader of umuofia who holds many titles and is well known among his people. Okonkwo's daily life consists of tending to the three yam farms he has produced and to make numerous offerings to numerous gods and to help himself and his family. Okonkwo's personality is hard driven, since his father did not provide for him and his family Okonkwo had to start man hood early and this led him to be very successful in his adulthood, Okonkwo is an unsympathetic character who only shows sympathy rarely because he believes it's a sign of weakness Okonkwo's family relationships make him a sympathetic character because when his children show signs of manliness or do their jobs right he shows sympathy towards them. He is an unsympathetic character because whenever he get a little mad he has to take his anger out on something and that is usually vented by beating his wife's.
He transferred his fears into the context of Umuofia and the traits that society valued, but what was really the driving force in his decisions “was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father” (17). The values of Umuofia resembled the polar opposite of what Unoka was and Okonkwo twisted his motivations around in his mind and presented them to himself and the community as derived from Umuofia’s traditions. From this delusion, Okonkwo established his ultimate goal of becoming a revered member of the village, possessing many titles, and achieving anything necessary displaying his prominence in the
Okonkwo is the strong, successful son of a weak father, Unoka. This has formed his character and will eventually destroy him . "And so Okonkwo was ruled by one passion- to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved."(17) Nwoye is presented as being similar to his grandfather, or at least that is Okonkwo's greatest fear: "Nwoye was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness. At any rate, that was how it looked to his father." (17) Here the narrator interferes in defense of Nwoye; what it looks like to his father may not be the truth about the boy.
Okonkwo is on two ends of a stick. Sometimes he can be shown to be a caring, sympathetic character, but others he is shown as a ruthless person that is very unsympathetic person. Okonkwo is a man of action that would rather solve things with his fists rather than talking it out. He is a great wrestler hailing from the Umuofia clan that has thrown Amalinze the Cat. Okonkwo is also a very good farmer, where he has been able to grow two barns worth of yams. He is someone that doesn’t know how to control themselves when they get angry as he will then resort to violence. Okonkwo’s family relationships make him a sympathetic character because of his caregiving nature and hospitality and he is shown to be an unsympathetic character because of his
Okonkwo was not a bit pleased upon the coming of the missionaries. The missionaries changed Okonkwo’s train of thought and the way in which he presented himself. In reaction to Enoch’s crime of unmasking an egwugwu, Okonkwo and the other leader of Umofia make an attack by destroying the missionaries’ church. Okonkwo had other intentions and had advised multiple violent actions even to the extent of killing the missionaries. Although, the group had only ended up burning down their church. As Okonkwo had stated, “He knew that he was a fierce fighter, but that year he had been enough to break the heart of a lion.”(pg.20) Okonkwo was following his own advice because he was fighting for what he believed in and for what he knew was wrong. The missionaries had changed the outlook upon life for Okonkwo. He was no longer the sweet loving and caring individual in which he was upon returning. He n...
Okonkwo crumbled under the newly developed society of the white man in Umofia. He could no longer act on his fury, vehemence or impetuousness, because acting in those non-compliant ways got him no further advancement and was frowned upon. Okonkwo lost his mental composure and everything in his life went to pieces because of it. His lack of sensitivity and understanding of those different from him handicapped his entire life. Okonkwo’s strength was further proven to have many fallacies because he was not strong in the important aspects of having composure and not acting on impulse. He could no longer control the people around him, nor his own life so he became misfortune of a classic tragedy.
Okonkwo fears failure and weakness because of his father, he also fears that all of his hard work and titles will be passed down to the hands of his weak feminine son, Nwoye who Okonkwo believes takes after his father Unoka. This instinctual drive becomes more visible when he portrays his aggressive behavior in multiple situations such as the beating of one of his wives which dishonored the week of peace, committing his first murder, and beating his children. His fear of being seen as week also drives him to cut down Ikemefuna despite his and his sons growing attachment to him. As Achebe puts
The constant change within the society is inevitable in every culture, ranging from traditional sense of social values to the law and condition of the land that people needs to obey by as time when on. And these changes within the culture can have significant impact on the perspective of the whole community and the mindset of an individual. We can see this in Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” as the old Igbo culture clashing with the Missionaries’s ideals from the western world that leads to the dividing of the two culture and create this social barrier between them as one culture would often contradict with the other. This changes unfold to the reader through the eyes of the main character of the story, Okonkwo.
“They will take him outside Umofia, as is the custom, and kill him there. But I want you to have nothing to do with it. He calls you his father. (57)” This quote explains that Ogbuefi expresses concern for Okonkwo, because the Oracle explains how it would be wrongful of Okonkwo to kill Ikemefuna. “Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak. (61)” This quote portrays that Okonkwo completely disregarded what Ogbuefi and the Oracle cautioned him about, because he was too concerned about his status of what others thought of him. “At last the man was named and people sighed “E-u-u, Ezeudu is dead.” A cold shiver ran down Okonkwo’s back as he remembered the last time the old man had visited him. (121)” At this point in the story, it appears that Okonkwo is starting to realize his wrongdoings, primarily because he takes religion and his spiritual life very seriously, in regards towards the Oracle. Okonkwo begins to lose trust within his family, especially with Nwoye. (As mentioned in the previous paragraph.) In the beginning of the book, Okonkwo relied on Ikemefuna to help Nwoye become more masculine and tough. After Ogbuefi warns Okonkwo about taking part in the murder, Okonkwo thinks about what could happen to him once the gods find out. Once again, Okonkwo lets his emotions
He was in great conflict with the ideas of the white men and the missionaries. Okonkwo saw that their beliefs had not only changed the daily life of the Ibo, but it also changed the people themselves: “He mourned for the warlike men of Umuofia, who had so unaccountably become soft like women” (Achebe 183). The author uses strong diction to compare the men before and after colonization. This quote also portrays Okonkwo’s opinion towards the cultural collision. He values strength and masculinity immensely because of his fear of appearing weak like his father Unoka. When he describes that the men of Umuofia changed to be soft like women, this shows how much he dishonors the Western ideas and how it has taken over the village. He made an attempt to get rid of the Western influence by urging the tribe to fight like men, but they refuse to. He was determined and still attempted to furthermore encourage the people of Umuofia to revolt against the new culture. He realizes that his attempts to return the village back to the way it was before were futile. He knew that Christianity was tearing his people apart, but knew he was incapable of making change to help his people. Okonkwo then starts to feel hopeless and abandoned by his clan, which causes him to commit suicide by hanging himself: “Obierika… turned suddenly to the District Commissioner and said ferociously: ‘That man was one of the greatest men
Overall, Okonkwo is a crucial part to the story Things Fall Apart, for he represents African culture, and helps demonstrate how colonization can change everything. Through this book we see how colonization changed history, and how it is important for groups, tribes, societies to stay together in times of invasion, in order to protect their own customs and traditions; and how crucial a sense of unity would've been for the Umuofian tribe. Okonkwo was the sense of unity of the tribe, doing everything he could could to protect it. His collection of honorable titles, his love for his tribes culture, his drive and passion, and even his booming pride all contribute to his district character, a true hero in my eyes.
Okonkwo is often described as being similar to characters in Greek tragedies. Okonkwo knew that the end of his clan was coming, and that they would do nothing to prevent it from happening. He took his life out of desperation. He had struggled his whole life to become a respected member of his community, and suddenly his world is turned upside down and changed forever because of an accident. Okonkwo sees that he is fighting a losing battle, so he quits. Suicide was one of the biggest offenses that could be committed against the earth, and Okonkwo?s own clansmen could not bury him. Okonkwo?s death symbolizes the end of patriarchy in Umuofia. The last page of the book is from the point of view of the white Commissioner, who notes that he wants to include a paragraph on Okonkwo?s life in his book entitled The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of Lower Niger. Okonkwo?s struggles, triumphs and defeats are all reduced to a paragraph, much like his culture and society will be reduced.
The above passages were taken from the end of chapter three, part one. After finishing reading this book and then going back through it, I found these passages very ironic in regards to how the story eventually ended. Okonkwo believed that because he was such a fierce fighter, he could conquer anything life threw at him. However, it was his fierce, proud, fighting attitude that was his demise in the face of uncontrollable circumstances in the end. Okonkwo believed that war and brute fighting would fix everything. He was a proud and stubborn man constantly struggling to improve his standing in the tribal community. Okonkwo also had intense pride for his tribe and way of life. He believed it was the right way of life and not to be questioned. Everyone was supposed to fear war with Umofia due to their fierce warriors and greatness in battle. When the white men not only did not fear them, but openly threatened the tribal way of life, Okonkwo prepared to handle the situation the only way he knew how. He wanted to got to war against the new white invaders, chasing them from tribal lands and ending the threat of different ways of life.
Okonkwo sees his father’s gentleness as a feminine trait. He works hard to be as masculine as possible so that he will be the opposite of his father and overcome the shame his father brought to his family. Okonkwo deals with this struggle throughout the entire book, hiding the intense fear of weakness behind a masculine façade (Nnoromele 149). In order to appear masculine, he is often violent. In his desire to be judged by his own worth and not by the worth of his effeminate father, Okonkwo participates in the killing of a boy he sees as a son, even though his friends and other respected tribe members advise him against it. (Hoegberg 71). Even after the killing of Ikamefuna, Okonkwo hides his feelings of sadness because the emotions are feminine to him. He goes so far as to ask himself, “when did you become a shivering old woman” (Achebe 65), while he is inwardly grieving. The dramatic irony of the secret fears that Okonkwo has will open the reader’s eyes to how important gender identity is to him. This theme is also presented among Okonkwo’s children. He sees his oldest son, Nwoye, as feminine because he does not like to work as hard as his father (Stratton 29). When Nwoye eventually joins the Christian church, Okonkwo sees him as even more feminine. On the other hand, Okonkwo’s