Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart Essay

1361 Words 6 Pages
“Living fire begets cold, impotent ash.” In Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo realizes the tragic reality that he has led himself to his demise. Since his youth, Okonkwo has devoted his life to becoming a respected tribe member of Umuofia. And so he did. From his successes as a teenage wrestler, a warrior who beheaded five men, and as the patriarch of his family, Okonkwo has not failed to rise above tribal standards. Although introduced in the novel as a strong figure of his tribe, known as the “Roaring Flame” by his peers, Okonkwo lives with the potent fear of ending up lesser than his late father Unoka. He has created a thick barrier between his interior and exterior, masking his fear with instead aggression and judgement. This barrier leads him to making horrible decisions. Okonkwo constantly subjects his family to beatings, especially his son Nwoye, who is seen as ‘womanly’ and lazy. His aggression subsides when he takes Ikemefuna, a young boy, under his wing and quickly grows affection for him. However his desperation to defy his sensitive interior leads him to kill Ikemefuna instead of letting another do so. This decision spirals him into depression, but it is not until the white men intrude their land that Okonkwo’s barrier finally falls apart. This is around the time he, the “Roaring Flame”, comes to the realization that “Living fire begets cold, impotent ash.” Along with new government, the white men introduce Christianity. Okonkwo is disgusted by…

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