Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart

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The novel "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe is deeply entrenched with culture morals and values. Achebe writes about a respected member of the Ibo community whose poor decisions and obsessions with being strong and manly led to his death. Achebe uses different community events and rituals to provide the reader with a direct insight of the Ibo’s culture. The book is centered on the main character Okonkwo, a well respected leader in the community. Early on in his life, Okonkwo focused an extreme amount of attention on not being like his father, but the truth is he was weak just like his father. By focusing on his father, Okonkwo fell weak to his own selfish ideas of what a man should or should not be. His obsession with being weak caused him to have a horrible temper and be very violent. These actions were displayed in the beatings of his family; in an effort to control them. Okonkwo believed his oldest son Nwoye was weak just like his father so he was frequently beaten in an attempt to make him more “manly.” By the way, beating your family doesn’t display strength, it displays weakness. Strength is illustrated through respect. For example, people who are violently abused by their spouses or father don’t do as the abuser say because of their respect for him, they do it because of their fear of him. Like most people who are abused, Okonkwo’s family feared him.

His obsession also caused him to make poor decisions by participating in killing his son after he was warned not to partake in the killing. According to the Ibo society, a father should not take part in killing his son, which is an example of his obsessive behavior. Not only was his action obsessive, it was also a sign of weakness. It was clear to me early in the book Okonkwo made bad decisions. Case in point, when he talked down to a man who reminded him of his father. Although the man didn’t have any titles, the other men did not agree with Okonkwo, he then felt uneasy and apologized for his...
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