Things Fall Apart Essay Topic #2
Although there are numerous aspects which led to Okonkwo's downfall; the main reason for his demise was his fear of being perceived as weak. This is true not only in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” but in modern day American society, as well. As Bukingham and Clifton once said, “For many of us our fear of our weaknesses seems to overshadow our confidence in our strengths. To use an analogy, if life is a game of cards and each of us has been dealt our hand of strengths and weaknesses, most of us assume that our weaknesses trump our strengths.” In other words, people generally will let their fears and weaknesses overpower their positive attributes and strengths, hence causing their downfall. This fear of one’s own flaws is such the situation with the story of Okonkwo and in modern day American society, as well. Okonkwo’s relentless fear of being weak like his father causes him to act intemperate which may have led to the gods feeling poorly towards him, which very well, could’ve led to his downfall. The classic American citizen, most times, will try to look at his weaknesses to overshadow his strengths. For example, if a basketball player is unusually short, yet unusually fast, majority of the time he will look at his weaker aspect, height, and think that he’s not good at the sport rather than looking at his stronger aspect, speed, and thinking to use it to his advantage. Such is the opposite in Jewish life; as Jews we try to stay humble and, in fact, think of ourselves as weak as to not bring us to our downfall, like Okonkwo. In the novel, Okonkwo is told by the priest that Ikemefuna is to be killed. However, he is not allowed to partake in the killing. Okonkwo is “afraid of being thought weak” so in fact he does go against the word of the priest and kills his beloved son, Ikemefuna (Achebe, 61). This then causes his other son, Nwoye, to stray from him. This is another example where Okonkwo's fear of weakness brings him...
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