Things Fall Apart Character Analysis

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All Subjects Change A community can be heavily influenced by the power of its people. In Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, an African village is intruded by a group of European missionaries who try and change the village for their own benefit. However, the outcome varies and turns out to be brutal for the main character, Okonkwo. In this novel, Okonkwo learns of the hardships of how change in a community can benefit or destroy a person. Achebe shows how the manipulation of a community can bring it down, or benefit it. This change is embraced and opposed by different characters in the book. Okonkwo, who is against anything outside of the Ibo culture, believes in strong discipline and frowns upon those who conform to outside concepts. …show more content…
Throughout the book, Achebe references fire in a few different ways. Okonkwo’s village nickname is “Roaring Flame,” which is interpreted as being a symbolic representation of overpowering strength. However, this “fire” that is being talked about mentions that with fire, comes ash. Ash is a side product of fire. To Okonkwo, ash has no power or positive meaning. It is simply the remnants and the waste parts of something bigger. Okonkwo’s son, Nwoye is compared to this ash when he goes to the side of the missionaries. Okonkwo 's point of view about this concept is shown by saying, “Living fire begets cold, impotent ash” (Achebe 153). Okonkwo is the flame that cast aside his ash which is Nwoye. We see that fire is shown as masculinity in this example because Nwoye is seen as a shameful burden of effeminate nature. Okonkwo later recalls how his nickname is a symbol of everything he is. He ponders on the fact that his son was nothing like him and his fiery reputation, but like Okonkwo 's father, Unoka, who was discussed earlier in the novel as a polar opposite of Okonkwo simply for their differentiating views. For when Unoka was sweet and gentle, Okonkwo was strict and …show more content…
His main internal challenge is his fear of becoming like his father, “It is clear that Okonkwo is struggling to right his father 's wrongs, to make up to his family for those weaknesses and become a model of true male Igbo righteousness” (“The Depiction of…”). Okonkwo saw his father as lazy and weak. Many of his father 's qualities, he saw as feminine. His father’s actions made him determined to do everything that he could to be exactly what his father was not, to be driven for success and power. Okonkwo does everything he can in himself to appear the strongest on the outside, while concealing anything that could be seen as slightly weak, “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate that the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of the forces of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself” (Achebe 13). To Okonkwo, the most important thing he could be was a symbol of power and masculinity to his people and to have a fearsome reputation throughout every village. However, his actions can sometimes be overpowering as his motivation is slightly extreme. When Okonkwo participated in the murder of Ikemefuna, his actions were not

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