The Power of Fear in Things Fall Apart

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The Power of Fear in Things Fall Apart
In the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the theme of the power of fear is presented throughout the whole book and is mainly expressed in the main character, Okonkwo.
Okonkwo strives all of his life to become a stronger, more powerful, and a successful individual. He wants to do this because his father was a slack and lazy person who lived most of his life in debt and had no titles to his name. People often looked at his father as a women figure for the few achievements he redeemed. Okonkwo never wanted to be like his father and it eventually got to the point where he became fearful of becoming like him. Achebe uses the power of fear as a theme of to show how much it can devastate one’s outside personality and how it will never change who and what they are from the inside by using the literary devices of irony and tragedy.
Ever since Okonkwo was young, he was afraid to be the man his father was. His father was a poor man in debt who had not taken any titles in his lifetime. In Okonkwo’s culture, this kind of man with no titles was considered a woman. The people in his culture were judged by how successful you were and Okonkwo made sure he did just that. With the fear of becoming like his father, he did anything and everything he could to get to the point of being a well-known person of the tribe, “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (Achebe 13). This is the fear Okonkwo had about turning out like his father. Okonkwo's mistaken concept of masculinity leads him to commit foolish acts and ironically causes his oldest son to absorb the characteristics Okonkwo despises as well as lead h...

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... dramatic reversal and kills himself shortly after. The biggest tragedy of Okonkwo’s life was his own suicide and this was all because of the fear of weakness that his father had.
Okonkwo had the right mindset at the beginning of the book but it slowly went downhill. The theme of power of fear was the main reason for Okonkwo's downfall. If Okonkwo did some things differently then what he actually did, he would of been in a much better position. Achebe uses the power of fear as a theme to show Okonkwo's downfall along with the literary devices of irony and tragedy.

Works Cited
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print.

Franz, Angela. "Literary Analysis: Okonkwo's Downfall in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua
Achebe." Helium. Helium, 19 May 2010. Web. 09 April. 2014.
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