Growing up a poor boy in a poor country is hard. When you dad’s the village fool, it makes it even worse; your sense of worth is low, and you must fight every day to rectify the mistakes of your father and prove your own worth basically reestablishing your name as one of truth and goodness. You must work twice as hard for half the reward as Okonkwo does to establish himself as a different person than his father. Making the choice to be a different man; he made good business decisions, worked tirelessly and raised his children with a strict set of rules he never had. Motivated purely by the ceaseless though of being better than his father, or at least being perceived as better. Being so focused and narrow-minded you can lose sight of the importance of your family and their wellbeing, leading to everything falling apart.
Okonkwo’s malevolence for his father is all consuming; he ridicules men for almost no reason other than they remind him of his father, he beats his children for being lazy, and his red hot temper is well known and demonstrated throughout the village. Paralleling his indignity for his father is the machismo theme that has Okonkwo showing no emotion, being a fierce warrior in tribal conflicts, and reacting purely on emotion to situations, never admitting he’s wrong even when he himself acknowledges that he is. These two themes contribute greatly to the collapse of his life. On one occasion Ojiugo, Okonkwo’s youngest wife goes to get her hair done and neglects to make the afternoon meal. After he discovers this, he waits for her to return then begins to beat her for her dereliction of duties. On a normal occasion, the beating of a wife for this type of behavior ...
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...e them work harder and be better at what they’re doing. The effect this has is exactly the opposite, the children fear him but don’t respect him, and they avoid working with him for fear of his reprimands when they do something wrong and it literally pushed them away to look for the support and love they need from outside the family. Mann wrote an article on the effects of overly strict parenting, “According to the new study, authoritarian parents are most likely to raise children who are disrespectful of parental authority and/or engage in delinquent behaviors” The tunnel vision Okonkwo focuses on being better than his father keep him from actually being a better father. We can piece together that the loss of both of his sons, the invasion of the Christians and the perceived alienation of the villages culture pushed Okonkwo over the edge and everything fell apart.
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