Masculanity in Things Fall Apart

Topics: Gender, Masculinity, Man Pages: 4 (1409 words) Published: April 26, 2011
Things Fall Apart

Okonkwo's self-destruction was caused by his drive for masculinity . Okonkwo's fear of being a failure caused Okonkwo to hide behind a veneer of anger and aggression. Okonkwo's masculinity was all he had and was the factor that controlled his behavior. He was often consumed in his actions of masculinity that seemed to know no limits. Also, a crucial flaw was his inability to accept change in tradition. He was not able to change with the values of both societies and the changing ways around him. He could not accept the fact that in a colonized society he would be an average person, rather than a distinguished and powerful male. Okonkwo feared of becoming like his father, so he made his own path to life and how he dealt with problems in society. By transitioning to his own way of masculinity he rejected everything that his father embodied; cowardice, gentleness, and laziness. Okonkwo stood for bravery, courage, hard work, and felt violence was the only answer. Okonkwo lived in a society where males dominated, and Okonkwo often took advantage of this. He felt that he was right in his actions and hid behind this shield which he called masculinity. With his vision of manliness connected with anger, aggression, and violence, Okonkwo caused his own destruction. "He had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had no patience with his father" (p.3). "Nwoye was twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness." (p.10). Here, Okonkwo's terror of his son behaving like his father is apparent. Therefore, he beat his son out of fear. Secondly, another factor that leads to Okonkwo's demise was his persistent aggressiveness and attempts to appear masculine in his society; it impaired his judgment on the actions that he took. Even when he took Ikemefuna into his home and became close to him, he decided not to show any feelings because showing emotions was thought as being weak. Okonkwo's disobedience of Ogbuefi...
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