An Analytical Essay on Excessive Pride in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

An Analytical Essay on Excessive Pride in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Excessive Pride in Things Fall Apart



In Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, a well-known aphorism, "pride goes before a fall", was used. I agreed with and supported this statement. The story line itself backed up this statement as well. Through Okonkwo's hard work he became a "great man" with a sense of pride and haughtiness, who then suffered a loss of pride, which ultimately led to his down fall and his own suicide.


This book went along with the commonly stated cliché. In addition to that, there was a widely known joke that went well with this. "One day there was an airplane pilot flying Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Bill (a kid), and Billy Gram. Something went wrong with the plane, so it had to be abandoned. The airplane pilot strapped on a parachute and said to them, "there is only four parachutes but I am taking one." Bill Clinton grabbed the second one and said, "I am the most important man and my country needs me so I am taking one too." Then, Bill Gates grabbed the third one and said, "I am the smartest man in the world and my people need me." So, Bill (a kid) was just looking... at the fourth parachute and Billy Gram said to him, "I am an old man and you are young, you have your whole life ahead of you, take the last parachute." Finally, Bill (a kid) looked up at him and said, "I was not thinking about that, it's just that the smartest man in the world took my backpack."


As you saw from the book and the joke, both Okonkwo, and Bill Gates were full of prejudice pride. They thought they were "great men", and saw others as inferior to them and incapable of living substantially if they were not the backbone. Okonkwo's pride grew immensely when he was an eighteen-year-old boy growing up in Umuofia. His father, Unoka was a lazy and imprudent man so Okonkwo sought to be everything his father was not. He threw Amalinze the Cat, who was a wily craftsman, and great wrestler that was unbeaten for seven years from Umuofia to Mbaino. That victory made Okonkwo known past the nine villages.

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Later he had his own house, three wives each with their own house, became a wealthy farmer, and had two barns full of yams. Along with all of that he had two titles, showed an incredible prowess in two inter-tribal wars, and was an egwugwu otherwise called a masked spirit.


Yet in the novel A Separate Peace Finny, the all around athletic character, had a lot of things going for him. He was at the peak of his life and nothing could stop him. So because of this invincible attitude Finny never stoped to think about anything, he just pursued it. The result of this was breaking his leg and ending his future dreams. Finny made no backup plans in his life to pursue so he gave up hope. This was just like when Okonkwo gave up on the world around him when things did not go as planed. Soon after, he committed suicide because he saw no future and was unwilling to compromise. Okonkwo and Finny where both blinded by their pride and would not accept reality, which concluded with their own downfall and demise.


When Okonkwo was attending the funeral of Ezeudu, a noble warrior with three titles, he lost his pride at sunset when the guns fired their last salute. Okonkwo's gun exploded a piece of iron that killed Ezeudu's sixteen-year-old son. This was a crime against their earth goddess, so he had to flee the country for seven years and his belongings were to be destroyed to cleanse the land. Okonkwo's pride was bruised because he had lost everything he had spent his life saving. Once his seven years were over he went back to and found the his tribe had changed vastly. His people's new beliefs, customs, culture, religion, and society were foreign to him because they adjusted over time to the Christians' ways. His world was literally turned upside-down.


Okonkwo's life went downhill from there, like its said in the bible, "Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." He surrendered to defeat when he found his people were not alongside him in getting the land back to the traditional ways. In Okonkwo's mind it was better to die than to admit his pride had caused the majority of his pain. He was so blinded to his own faults that it magnified the faults of others. This did not allow Okonkwo to see what was coming and how he could have protected himself against the odds.


In conclusion, from Okonkwo's unwillingness to accept things that seemed to be beneath him, he ended up beneath them. He had extremely too much pride, which caused his downfall because he became so obsessed with being everything his dad was not. This caused Okonkwo to no longer care whether things were wrong or right. His pride also interfered with his ability to reason. That was why he participated in killing Ikemefuna, his adopted son, so he would not be seen as an efulefu who was to weak to be a man.

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