Analysis Of Okonkwo In Things Fall Apart

Better Essays
Lillian Friefeld
Mr. Lewis
PIB Language Arts 8
9 November 2015
Relationships and Fear The character Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is driven by the fear of change as well as losing his self worth. This impacts many of his actions and relationships throughout the novel and is rooted in his relationship with his father, Unoka. The contrast between Unoka’s lazy but happy personality and Okonkwo’s severe, cold, and yet determined state of mind is reflected in how he treats his wives and children. Okonkwo’s unforgiving relationship with his father and his fear of change added to his desire to be solely different from Unoka manifests throughout the novel and impacts his relationships with others as well as how he views society. From
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Okonkwo is blinded by his ambition to act completely different from his father; his violent ways and disregard for others is Okonkwo reacting to what he thought Unoka’s weaknesses are An example of this is when Ezeudu, a respected elder in Umuofia, warned Okonkwo that the village Oracle had called for the death of Okonkwo’s adopted son Ikemefuna. He asked Okonkwo not to take any part in it, but always eager to find another way to impress the community, Okonkwo delivers the fatal blow, even when Ikemefuna asks for his protection. Later questioned by Okonkwo’s friend Obierika about his decision to kill Ikemefuna, Okonkwo became severely defensive, saying “‘You sound as if you question the authority and decision of the Oracle, who said he should die’” (64). Okonkwo disregards his own relationship with Ikemefuna, his one son who he showed emotion for, in return for a strengthened reputation in his community. In his mind, the customs and values in Umuofia are more important than his personal feelings and relationships. Okonkwo’s misguided motivations lead him astray again when he beats his wife during the Week of Peace. The reason behind this beating was so that he didn’t seem soft like Unoka was, and he only repented this action and accepted the blame for it because it cost him some of his social standing in the …show more content…
As the Ibo traditions faded away, the opinions about Okonkwo’s conservative actions change, and he began to be judged more harshly, leading to his downfall. These changing mentalities are brought up during a conversation between Obierika and Okonkwo. Offended by Obierika’s comment about the ozo title, Okonkwo says “‘I think it is good that our clan holds the ozo title in high esteem […] In those other clans you speak of, ozo is so low that every beggar takes it’’’ (67). Okonkwo believes social status needs to be earned, and this value is falling apart in Umuofia. His response foreshadows his future reactions to the larger events that take place in the novel. These changes in his environment negatively impact Okonkwo’s state of mind and

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