Assessment of Main Character In Things Fall Apart – Okonkwo

Analysis of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart Novel

“Things fall apart” is a story that tries to recreate the religious, cultural and social life of Igbo between 1950 and the beginning of 1900s. The story’s major character Okonkwo plays a main role in the story.He is projected as a great wrestler, a hardworking man, and a well-known worrier. He is a heroic figure who is continuously at war with others and even his own chi, for the three generations presented in the novel. In the first part, Okonkwo is at war with his father’s legacy of laziness and failure. He is always in fear of failure and as a result, Okonkwo always worked hard to fill his stores with yams.  Okonkwo’s main goal in life was to climb the title ladder in Igbo traditional community ruling system by creating a balance between the community service and personal achievement in life. Nevertheless, Okonkwo chi makes him feel that he is not fated to greatness. However, despite of all, Okonkwo decides to fight against his own chi to overcome it and to achieve his goal. His inflexibility, range, and distress of looking weak like his father overshadowed his honor for his community constituently.

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In this fight, Okonkwo is completely unable to balance between his great masculine energy and desire for life success with his scarce love energy. In this regard, he did a number of things with is masculine energy to annoy the earth goddess Ani. He initially soiled his hands with the blood of Ikemefuna, a boy who was given by a neighboring village after murdering a woman from Umuofia village, to avoid war. Ikemefuna was adopted by Okonkwo for three years and nurtured as his own child. Despite of loving him as his own son, Okonkwo killed Ikemefuna after the Oracle of the Hills and Caves commanded for his death. He refused to take an advice not to take part in Ikemefuna death given to him by the oldest man of the village Ogbuefi Ezeudu, to avoid being seen weak by the villagers and the village elders. As a result, Okonkwo angered the goddess for the first time. He also annoyed the goddess by beating his third wife Ojiugo during the week of peace, directing a shot to his second wife Ekwefi with rusty gun and finally, shooting and killing a son of Ezeudo, a villager during his father’s burial. As a result he was expelled from the village by Ani to his mother’s village. However, despite of his aggression, Okonkwo loved his family for he accompanied his second wife Ekwefi to oracle Agbala with intention of delivering their daughter ogbanje power. This shows that he cared for his family.

In the second part, Okonkwo continues with his determination to accumulate wealth even in exile. He also gains the advantage of acquiring mother nurturing love in his mother’s clan. However, it is during this time that his village is invaded by colonials and a number of things are changed. Most unrecognized individuals in the traditional system convert into Christianity, including Okonkwo’s eldest son Nwoye who he despised and compared with his father. In the third part, Okonkwo goes back to his village and find the changes he cannot bear. The traditional system of ruling which he once thought he would be part of was no more. There was a fight between the tradition and the civilization brought by the colonial. Here Okonkwo played a great role in an attempt to fight to liberate the village from the new forces. This first landed Okonkwo to jail. In the second fight, he realized that there is nothing he could do to stop the changes. However, he could not bear it and thus, he gave up in his fight and decided to commit suicide. Basically, the story “things fall apart” revolves about Okonkwo and his effort to overcome his own chi and his father bad legacy and ends when Okonkwo was unable to attain his live goals and decide to commit suicide.

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