This pressure leads him to kill a child that calls him father. Okonkwo doesn’t wish to look weak in front of his fellow tribesmen, so he cuts the boy down despite the Oracle’s message. “He heard Ikemefuna cry, “My father they have killed me!” as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe 61). Okonkwo is unable to express a normal human emotion, such as grief, because he is crippled by the opinions of others. Okonkwo does not have the ability to express his true feelings and therefore is enslaved by the sense of masculinity he feels he must portray. His only ability to express his feelings comes only through violence and
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.
An extreme contrast of his father, Okonkwo strives to appear as masculine as possible. Even though his traits were already considered very masculine, Okonkwo persistently tries to ensure he is not seen as his definition of weak, more so in the presence of his family then others, in an attempt for his sons to act masculine as well. However, not all agree with his interpretation of manliness, such as his son Nwoye and his friend Obierika, as both did not agree with Okonkwo’s actions when he killed the boy Ikemefuna, who viewed Okonkwo as a father, to not appear weak in front of others. Nevertheless, Okonkwo’s true masculinity is still shown throughout the book, such as when he far...
... his words that he committed a great evil; we live in peace with our fellows to honor our great goddess of the earth without whose blessings our crops will not grow. You have committed a great evil (Achebe 30). Okonkwo displays another fit of anger during the feast of the new yam, when he almost killed his second wife with a gun because she cut a few leaves off the banana tree to wrap some food. Without patience to discern her explanation; she was beaten mercilessly and almost got killed. Okonkwo lacked a sense of affection towards his family, which can be linked to his fear of weakness. He repudiates any show of emotion or patience in order not to appear weak. His household lived in a perpetual fear, he never gave them the opportunity to get close to him without been scared of him, and this really had a great effect with the relationship he had with his household.
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.
Within the Obi tribe, Okonkwo is an important man, who has risen from nothing to a man of great wealth and social status. Okonkwo is obsessed with masculinity, and he has a very narrow view of “manliness”. Okonkwo's relationship with his dead father is the root of his violent and ambitious conduct. He wants to rise above his father's legacy of laziness, which he views as weak and therefore feminine. This drive and fierce pride made him a great man, but they are also the source of all of his faults.
Within every man is a story to be told; one that is evolving day by day and night by night. Each new experience births a fresh reaction that represents a strand of generational DNA. As the chain of events progresses, two things may occur. An individual may follow in path of this genetic pull or dislike it so much that he/she may stray far away from it. In the case of Okonkwo, it was the latter.
“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
From birth Okonkwo had wanted his son, Nwoye, to be a great warrior like him. His son instead rebelled and wanted to be nothing like Okonkwo. Okonkwo would not change so that his son would idolize him, as he had wanted since his son's birth. He chose not to acknowledge his son's existence instead. This would weigh heavily on anyone's conscience, yet Okonkwo does not let his relationship with his son affect him in the least bit.
Okonkwo’s struggle with masculinity and femininity less him to his demise because he becomes aggressive to his family. There is a quote in which it describes his Okonkwo actions towards his family, “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness” (Achebe, 10). This quote resembles Okonkwo’s true self. In reality his whole life was dominated of fear of being womanly. In his opinion he believes that being manly was the only option. He allowed the idea to consume him and the lingering fear of failure make him into a different person. Consequently this becomes Okonkwo to brome irrational with his actions. For instance in one scene Ekwefi the second lied to calm his anger towards his youngest ...
Okonkwo’s fear leads him to treat members of his family harshly, in particular his son, Nwoye. Okonkwo often wonders how he, a man of great strength and work ethic, could have had a son who was “degenerate and effeminate” (133). Okonkwo thought that, "No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man" (45).
Okonkwo’s fear of unmanliness is kindled by his father, who was a lazy, unaccomplished man. Okonkwo strives to have a high status from a young age and eventually achieves it. He has a large family, many yams and is well known throughout the village for his valor. He raises his family by his mentality of manliness and is ...
Throughout the novel, Oknonkwo does many things to prove his masculine quality. Many of these things are debatable as to whether they affirm Okonkwo's masculinity or if they bring out his true weakness and lead to his destruction. (Goldman 2)
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