An Anti-Hero from the Start
“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”- Nelson Mandela. Okonkwo never conquers his fear, but instead does things to hide it. This is illustrated at the end of the book when he takes the easy way out and kills himself. All of Okonkwo’s characteristics of being considered an “anti-hero” are derived from his fear of change, they are what make him act the way he does. In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the main character Okonkwo portrays a selfish anti-hero who’s opinionated, resentful and insecure ways ultimately lead to his death. The image of an anti-hero begins to appear with Okonkwo’s stubbornness. He doesn’t want to accept other peoples opinion he doesn’t agree with. When Okonkwo and Nwoye’s opinion begin to greatly differ Okonkwo disowns him instead of trying to adapt and create a better relationship with his son. The final thread holding Okonkwo and Nwoye breaks when Mr. Brown goes to tell Okonkwo shortly before the end of his exile that Nwoye is studying to become a teacher. “And he had hoped that Okonkwo would be happy to hear of it. But Okonkwo had driven him away with the threat that if he came into his compound again, he would be carried out of it.”(149). Okonkwo reacts harshly too this instead of considering it with an open mind. Mr. Brown simply went to tell Okonkwo about Nwoye (now called Isaac) with the intentions of making him pride. Another way Okonkwo exhibits stubbornness is when he returns from his exile. Okonkwo can’t stand to see tribal conditions change, even if it’s best for the tribe. For example, “The white man had indeed brought a lunatic religion, but he had also built a trading store and for the first time palm-oil and kernel became things of great price, and much money flowed into Umuofia,”(146). The new customs that are being implemented by the colonists are difficult for him to understand so he refuses to give in and follow them....
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