The Lead Man vs. the Number One Man Essay

The Lead Man vs. the Number One Man Essay

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In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and the Mali Epic Son Jara, Son Jara and Okonkwo were both superior characters in their time and in the stories. Son Jara was a superior figure in his society by nature because he was born into his title as the next king of Manden, and was mistakenly named the “first” born. Okonkwo rose to fame by what he did, his actions, rather than a birthright, which was not present in this modern text. In the ancient text, Son Jara, what makes Son Jara an exceptional man in society is his being the leader of his tribe for the advancement of his entire people. However, in the modern text, Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo becomes an exceptional character not to help his people, but to fulfill personal aims. Thus, the modern text transcends the values of ancient African society represented in Son-Jara through a new idea of what it means to be an exceptional member of a group, whether it is to guide others by example or further separate oneself from the rest, the modern text promoting the individual rather than the group.
Son Jara is an exceptional character that is fated not to become famous and prove himself superior but to become a leader of his people and save the ravages of his land. From the moment Son Jara was born, he was destined to become the king of Manden since his birth came to his father’s ears first when in fact he was born second. When he overcomes not being able to walk, Manden surely seems like it would be his, but his brother’s mother exiles him from his land so her son can become the ruler. As the years continue, a leader not akin to Manden, Sumamuru, throws out Son Jara's brother and rules. Sumamuru and previously Son Jara’s brother felt that Son Jara was a threat because the land was h...

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...fact better than his other clansmen as in the areas the titles determine. In theory if someone receives all of the titles in the tribe, they are certifiably better than all of his other clansmen that does not have the titles. Thus, not having a king, one leader, in modern African society implies that it leaves room for other men to find their way to a distinguished position a king like Son Jara would fill. While Okonkwo throughout Things Fall Apart seems like the extremist in his tribe, his people are not much different in redefining and emphasizing the role of the individual. More importantly, if the old idea of a leader and cooperative tribesmen were still present in Things Fall Apart would the European people still have had a chance to disrupt the Igbo clan or did the new concept of the individual inadvertently weaken the African people?

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