Essay on Okonkwo: A True Hero

Essay on Okonkwo: A True Hero

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Okonkwo achieves respect and high social status through his own heroic efforts despite being left with nothing but the dishonorable reputation of his “lazy and improvident” father. Toiling in the fields, enduring droughts, exhibiting fearless on the battlefield, and fueled by a burning desire to succeed, Okonkwo becomes a hero in Umuofia. Okonkwo’s success stems from his hard-work and perseverance, which he achieves in spite of his father’s shortcomings. He “lay[s] the foundations of a prosperous future” by slowly and painfully working like “one possessed” in order to escape “his father’s contemptible life and shameful death.” Okonkwo, so “possessed” with escaping the lingering reputation of his father, does anything in his power to earn respect. He gains respect and status by building up his wealth and reputation, which he displays by hosting sardanapalian feasts, and constantly renovating his expansive compound. Okonkwo also shapes his fate through his intense masculinity. His masculinity is best shown by his unmatched fearlessness in battle. Both in war and in wrestling, Okonkwo exhibits unmatched skill and fearlessness. Naturally, these important traits grant him respect in the patriarchal society of Umuofia, furthering Okonkwo’s is own goal of attaining high social status. The zenith of Onkowo’s heroism is his relentless endeavor to become titled. Even when misfortune forces him into exile, Okonkwo still has resolute belief that he will regain flourish and achieve his ultimate goal: “Some of these losses were not irreparable. He was determined that his return should be marked by his people. He would return with a flourish, and regain the seven wasted years. ... He saw himself taking the highest title in the land.” (pg. 1...


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...suicide. Oberiake, accurately sees Okonkwo driven to suicide “That man was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. You drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog”In the midst of an epoch of entropic change, paradigm shift in justice, splintering family ties, Okonkwo chooses to accept the ultimate consequences, social sin, and death, in order to retain his steadfast beliefs. The unfairness of the suicide has Obierika choking on his own words. The seemingly invincible hero has fallen so far from greatness only to succumb to the same shameful death he so diligently tried to avoid. In the end Okonkwo’s fate, his qi, never “affirms with his aspirations”. In the most definitive and pivotal moment of his life, Okonkwo fails. The epic transformation Okonkwo undergoes, the one that lets him let go of his fear, is never fully realized because of his death.

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