Okonkwo Fall Essay

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In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo was motivated by fear, especially fear of change. Okonkwo depended on the stability of Umuofia, because he based the meaning of his whole life on the village’s structure. Okonkwo needed this stability because of his childhood and the strenuous relationship between his father and himself. While Okonkwo was exiled, the village of Umuofia changed and Okonkwo was unable to adjust to the new ways of his village. Okonkwo opposed change and died along with the old customs of Umuofia. Change is unavoidable, and those who too frightened to adapt are left behind
As a child, Okonkwo resented his father, Unoka, who was lazy and irresponsible. He obtained a great amount of debt and brought dishonor to his family. Okonkwo feared that he would be a failure, like his father. Okonwo’s, “whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness… It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these. It was not external, but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father. Even as a little boy he had resented his father’s failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate had told him that his father was agbala.” (160). The values of Umuofia are the complete opposite of what Unoka’s values were. Okonkwo established his ultimate goal of becoming an honorable member of the village, possessing many titles, and achieving anything necessary to display his importance in the community. As a result, Okonkwo set out to be everything his father wasn’t—a stern and po...

... middle of paper ... dangling…"It is against our custom," said one of the men. "It is an abomination for a man to take his own life. It is an offence against the Earth, and a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen. His body is evil, and only strangers may touch it. That is why we ask your people to bring him down, because you are strangers"(207). In Umuofia, suicide is an “abomination” and any man who commits suicide is deemed “evil” and no clans man can touch his body.
Throughout the novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo appears to be the ultimate warrior when in reality he was consumed by fear. Okonkwo spent most of his life trying to not resemble his father, which caused him to contest change. Ironically, in the end of the novel, Okonko commits the ultimate crime, suicide. In Igbo culture, suicide is dishonorable—Okonkwo ended up like Unoka after all.