Okonkwo's Downfall In Things Fall Apart

Superior Essays
“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. …show more content…
In many ways, this unwavering determination propelled him to great things. On the onset of All Things Fall Apart, Achebe describes Okonkwo’s success in ten fold. “Okonkwo’s prosperity was visible in his household.. his three wives had her own hut.. The barn was built against one end of the red walls, and long stacks of yam stood out..”(11) Through his drive to be respected in his tribe, Okonkwo was well off in his youth and his success would continue to grow. His popularity was credited to his personal achievements, as each man earns his own reputation – good or bad – based on his own behavior and actions. Achebe suggests Okonkwo’s relentless drive when, in chapter three, he writes “But in spite of these disadvantages, he[Okonkwo] had begun even in his father’s lifetime to lay the foundations of a prosperous future. It was slow and painful. But he threw himself into it like one possessed.”(pg #) Every fiber of his energy is focused on attaining success, and his whole life was devoted to this. Okonkwo transformed from the orphaned son of his late father, to obtaining “ the Idemili title, the third highest in the land.”(12) His attachment to his status and power is what compelled him to refute the white man’s contrasting culture, and ultimately drew the line between him and his …show more content…
In many ways, this unwavering determination propelled him to great things. Through his drive to be respected in his tribe, Okonkwo was well off in his youth and his success would continue to grow. On the onset of Things Fall Apart, Achebe describes Okonkwo’s success as great. “Okonkwo’s prosperity was visible in his household.. his three wives had her own hut.. [his] barn was built against one end of the red walls, and long stacks of yam stood out..”(11) Tribe members began to see Okonkwo as admirable. His popularity was credited to his personal achievements, and Achebe explains that he obtained “the Idemili title, the third highest in the land.”(12) However with this success came a strong attachment to his status and power. And when introduced to the white man’s contrasting culture, Okonkwo dismissed it, ultimately drawing the line between himself and his

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