In the novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, a cultural clash between Ibo culture and Western culture was assessed through fictional literature. Several characters reacted to this in their unique ways, either by accepting or rejecting European beliefs. However, the character Okonkwo, a proud, strong and well respected warrior in the Igbo Society had a significant reaction to the new culture. When the new, western culture comes to Igbo society, Okonkwo, of Clan Umuofia, responds by using violence as the only choice. This decision carried dire consequences, and lead to Oknonkwo’s death.
Things Fall Apart: An Evaluation In “Things Fall Apart,” Chinua Achebe tells two different stories at the same time. One is of Okonkwo, the villager whose rise to power is halted because of all of his misfortunes. The other is of Okonkwo’s village, Umuofia, and its struggle to hold on to its cultural tradition while facing colonialism from the West. The title, “Things Fall Apart,” describes perfectly what happens to both Okonkwo and his village. Okonkwo’s life falls apart and as a result, he commits suicide by hanging himself. The cultural tradition of Umuofia falls apart, and becomes influenced by the West. In “Things Fall Apart,” Achebe uses Okonkwo and the village’s falling out to show how African culture, as well as other cultures around the world, suffered as a result of Westernization. In the book, Achebe focuses mainly on the character of Okonkwo. Okonkwo’s story follows the general pattern of a Greek tragedy. He experiences many successes in the beginning, but everything eventually comes crashing down on him. His early life is the typical success story. He starts poor, but works hard to earn everyone’s respect. From the beginning he is disgusted with his father. He is a lazy old man who borrows money and never pays it back. Okonkwo realizes that he does not want to be like his father, and it is this hatred that drives him to work hard. After his father’s death, Okonkwo pays off his debts, and starts his long journey to the top of the clan. In a short time, Okonkwo...
Okonkwo’s true nature was clearly only reflected around those he closest to him, many times only under intimate or special circumstances. As his true masculinity, his unrealised and under expressed fondness for those he loved, and his overly expressed fiery temper, was shown to the greatest extent only around those closest to him. This deeply developed the character, and heightened the sense of Okonkwo being a tragic hero in Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart.
...his position in the community changed. However, as the missionaries entered the community and started to convert citizens, Okonkwo viewed this occurrence as a threat to his success and fame. Being resistance to the alteration of the culture of Umofia, Okonkwo begins to act violent, which is specifically shown when he attacks Nwoye. In addition, Okonkwo starts to question why his son is “degenerate and effeminate”, showing another example to his resistance to change. Lastly, Okonkwo kills one of the missionaries. This event in the story reveals the dark and villainous side of Okonkwo to the community of Umofia and to the reader. In conclusion, Okonkwo’s resistance to change to keep his position in the community the same causes his significance to disappear, leaving only a violent and villainous character that does not have a large impact in the community any longer.
Okonkwo is “a man of action, a man of war” (7) and a member of high status in the Igbo village. He holds the prominent position of village clansman due to the fact that he had “shown incredible prowess in two intertribal wars” (5). Okonkwo’s hard work had made him a “wealthy farmer” (5) and a recognized individual amongst the nine villages of Umuofia and beyond. Okonkwo’s tragic flaw isn’t that he was afraid of work, but rather his fear of weakness and failure which stems from his father’s, Unoka, unproductive life and disgraceful death. “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….It was not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father.” Okonkwo’s father was a lazy, carefree man whom had a reputation of being “poor and his wife and children had just barely enough to eat... they swore never to lend him any more money because he never paid back.” (5) Unoka had never taught Okonkwo what was right and wrong, and as a result Okonkwo had to interpret how to be a “good man”. Okonkwo’s self-interpretation leads him to conclude that a “good man” was someone who was the exact opposite of his father and therefore anything that his father did was weak and unnecessary.
Unfortunately, everything is not perfect. His son, Nwoye, seems not to be showing the characteristics of a real man. He prefers to stay with his mother, listening to women's stories, than to listen to his father's tales of battle and victory. Later, when missionaries come to the tribe, Nwoye is attracted to their Christian religion because of its unqualified acceptance of everyone, much like a mother's unqualified love. Of this, Okonkwo r...
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.
The struggle between custom values and conversion is a universally applied theme to Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The fable like, tragic tone of the work was set off from the very first page. The verb FALL APART has 4 senses to lose one's emotional or mental composure, go to pieces, break or fall apart into fragments, and to become separated into pieces or fragments. These are all exemplified in the novel Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo is a tragic hero in the traditional sense. His fate was decided for him and was unavoidable. Okonkwo’s inability to act rationally and express his feelings in a anthropological manner leads to his inescapable demise. Okonkwo exhibits the characteristics of a tragic hero not only by encompassing an unexceptional flaw. Okonkwo not only developed this flaw because of his erroneous equivalence of masculinity with being filled with relentless fury, vehemence, and impetuousness, but also because he leads to his own self-annihilation.
The second part begins with Okonkwo exile to his mother’s land for seven years. This part also marks the entry of the white man into the lives of the African people. Though inwardly disappointed, Okonkwo begins a ne...
When the white man enters the village, the Igbo villagers feel threatened. The villagers, gathered around a stream, talk about how the white man despise of the Igbo people, “ they want to ruin us. They will not allow us into the markets,” (140). The Christian missionaries are destroying the society because the Igbo villagers no longer feel welcome in places of everyday activity and interaction. The missionaries also destroy the Igbo society by demolishing family relationships. The disfigured father-son relationship of Okonkwo and Nwoye is an example of how many families are damaged by the Christian missionaries. The Christian religion drives Nwoye to contradict with is own Igbo beliefs and inflict a hatred towards his father, “ he was happy to leave his father. He would return later to his mother and his brother and sisters and convert them to the new faith,” (132). Christianity and the Christian missionaries destroy the society as they construct conflict between family affairs, leaving the society in an environment of complication.