Okonkwo Things Fall Apart

9 September 2016

The way in which they raise us depicts who we are going to be. When Okonkwo was growing up, his father impacted his fear of being thought of as weak. He had to prove to his community that he wasn’t like his father. In the powerful story of, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe he tells a story of an Ibo farmer (Okonkwo) who lives in Nigeria. Instead of controlling his fear, he allows it to take over him and force his actions on people. Although he is known for his fearlessness, he experiences this internal worry about himself and the fear of failure and weakness.

In Umofia, the father is known to provide for the family, since his father was incapable of affording anything he grew up with a weakness that he couldn’t overthrow. Okonkwo did not have the start in life which many other men had so he struggled. “Unoka (Okonkwos father) was an ill-fated man. He had a bad chi or personal god, and evil fortune followed his to the grave, or rather his death, for he had no grave”(18). Okonkwo didn’t inherit a barn, title or wife. As a child he grew up with a father who showed him what a man shouldn’t be.

Okonkwo Things Fall Apart Essay Example

He grows up being very ashamed of his father and spends his entire life trying not to be life him. Unoka spent his life barrowing from people and never repaying them. “In his day he was lazy and improvident and was quite incapable of thinking about tomarrow… Unoka the grown-up was a failure”(45). He had an enormous effect on Okonkwo. Unoka’s weaknesses gave him the drive to become a well-respected man of the village. When Okonkwo was still young he won several wrestling matches and became known as the greatest wrestler in all the villages. He became a wealthy farmer with two barns full of yams and just married his third wife.

Because of his father’s life, he was forced to make his life successful all by himself. Okonkwo cares about his village and what the people of Umofia think of him. Since he is very high ranked in his village and is known for his strength, he believes that violence is the only way to get respect. “’He (okonkwo) was not afraid of war. He was a man of action, a man of war. Unlike his father, he could not stand the look a blood. In Umofia’s latest war he was the first to bring home a human head”’(2) Okonkwo was very well-known and important in his village. He had no fear of violence.

Fearlessness in war is a highly respected quality in Umofia. When Ikemefuna was brought into Okonkwo’s family, Okonkwo was very fond of him, but that wouldn’t stop him from beating him. “’When Okonkwo heard that he (Ikemefuna) would not eat any food he came into the hut with a big stick in his hand and stood over him as he swallowed the yams, trembling. A few moments later he went being the hut and began to vomit painfully. ”’(45) Okonkwo is the ruler of his household based on fear. Not only does he scare Ikemufuna into eating, but his wives are scared of being beaten.

He always needs to make sure that his family knows who is in charge because he does not want to be compared to his father. Okonkwo worries about becoming like his father-lazy, feminine and unable to support his family. This worry results to a dictatorship torwards his family. He shows no emotion because he considers it to be soft and not masculine. “’Okonkwo was especially fond of Ezinma. She looked very much like her mother who was the village beauty, but his fondness only showed on occasions. ”’ Ezinma is Okonkwo’s oldest daughter and favorite child. He wishes that she was a boy and believes that shows how much he loves her.

He is also very fond of Ikemefuna because he helped Nwoye develop into a son Okonkwo always wanted. More than anything Okonkwo tries to follow the laws of the village. Ogbueifi Ezeudu tells him that the Oracle has announced that Ikemefuna must be killed. “’ He heard Ikemefuna cry, “My father they have killed me! ” as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought of as weak. ”’( 105 ) Whenever Okonkwo was faced with a choice between maintaining his strength, and showing emotion, he chooses his honor and reputation over his family.

Unlike his father who broke every rule there was. Overall fear from Okonkwo’s childhood has lead him to behave in negative ways that bring him anger to the gods; being exiled from Umofia, guilt; killing Ikemefuna and the fear of the disapproval. From when Okonkwo was young to now he promised himself he would never let his family starve like his father let him. His father had a big impact on how he grew up, because he had to learn to support a family.

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