In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo was one of the strongest proponents of violence against the white missionaries. Throughout the book, he advocated for violence while be outnumbered by his fellow natives who objected. Near the end of the book, he had had enough. During a village meeting gathered to discuss what to do about the white missionaries, a messenger for the missionaries arrived to tell them the meeting had been ordered to be stopped. “In a flash Okonkwo drew his machete. The messenger crouched to avoid the blow. It was useless. Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body”.3 The man had been killed. Shortly after, Okonkwo hanged himself on a tree. Violence was by far the most disruptive response to to the presence of white missionaries in Africa. It was the only response that led to deaths. Not only was the violence disruptive, it was also ineffective. In the last paragraph of the book, the Commissioner of the missionaries articulated how Okonkwo’s actions would make a good paragraph in the book he planned to write. Violence against missionaries was disruptive and led to death for both the locals and the
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 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...
The white man considered Africans to be primitive savages. They were seen as inferior, second-class citizens. Chinua Achebe was an African novelist who sought to give the African people a voice. Achebe gave a prospective of African culture that had been missing from the literature. The white man primarily composed works of literature, therefore there was a skewed representation of African culture. Achebe conveyed a greater understanding of African culture through his first novel Things Fall Apart. This analysis will examine Okonkwo’s power and lack of freedom through his wealth, property, and actions.
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.
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.
“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
…the missionary had immediately paid him a visit. He had just sent Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, who was now called Isaac, to the new training college for teachers in Umuru. And he had hoped that Okonkwo would be happy to hear of it. But Okonkwo had driven him away with the threat that if he came into his compound again he would be carried out of it. (157)
Okonkwo wanted to become one of the greatest men in the Ibo tribe, but three unfortunate events occur bringing him closer to his end. Okonkwo was a proud, industrious figure who through hard work was able to elevate himself to a stature of respect and prominence in his community. The one major character flaw was that he was a man driven by his fear to extreme reactions. Okonkwo was petrified of inadequacy namely because his father was a complete and utter failure. This fear of shortcoming made him hate everything his father loved and represented: weakness, gentleness, and idleness. Who was Okonkwo, well Okonkwo was a hero and also he...
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.
This crime from Okonkwo left him away from his homeland for seven years, and during his escape, his old culture would soon be evolved. This unintentional action also played a domino effect, first moving his family away and having his home destroyed, then having his son, Nwoye turn back on him and become a missionary in Umuofia joining the white culture. Achebe describes how Nwoye declines Okonkwo being his father towards Obierika who is doing favors for the family (144). Hearing this, his father seems to not be harmed and is disappointed in his son. These missionaries began assembling into Umuofia, convincing the clansmen that there is only one God, and He is the creator of everything unlike what the clansmen had believed. They had a god for everything, but they now were being persuaded. Hearing this, Okonkwo is in shock and believes that the only way to solve the issue is to chase the men out of the village some way (Achebe 146). Nwoye is attracted to the new religion but has yet to reveal it to his father for fear of him. When Okonkwo heard the news, he is infuriated with anger. “… sprang to his feet and gripped him by the neck”
Throughout Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, struggle between change and tradition is one of the most relevant issues. The Igbo villagers, Okonkwo, and his son Nwoye all experience this problem in many different ways. The villagers have their religion defied, Okonkwo reaches his breaking point and Nwoye finally finds what he believes in. People have struggled to identify and cope with change and tradition throughout history, and will continue to struggle with this issue in the