Things Fall Apart and the Influences of His Family, Culture, and Society

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Things fall apart

Many things helped to shape Okonkwos’ character to become the person he was in this novel. He was mostly influenced by his family, culture, and society. These things changed him for the worse because he ended up killing himself at the end of the book.

Okonkwo’s family had the most influence in his life. He starts off the story by talking about life with his father whom he later acknowledges as his motivation to do better. It is said that, “Indeed he was possessed by the fear of his father’s contemptible life and shameful death”. He was more so ashamed because he did not inherit any barns, titles, or even a young wife. He worked so hard that his only passion was to “hate everything that his father Unoka had loved.” It was the fear of even resembling his father that led him to over work his family and develop his status. He even went on to wishing that his daughter Ezinma was a boy. She was the only child that he ever put his life in danger for. When Cheilo the priestess came to take Ezinma to the oracle he was trying to plead with Cheilo that she was sick and that she was asleep and if she could come back in the morning. The priestess warns him, “Beware Okonkwo! Beware of exchanging words with Agbala. Does a man speak when a god speaks? Beware!” The priestess takes Ezinma but it doesn’t stop there because he could not sleep and he made about four trips to the cave before he spots his wife waiting for their daughter to emerge out of the cave again.

Furthermore, “it was a crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman, and a man who committed it must flee from the land” this is how part two of this book begins. This is part of their culture just as much as war, marriage, births, deaths, and worship. Okonkwo mistakenly kills one of the young clansmen at the funeral and his family has to pack things up and start over in his motherland. At first Okonkwo is bitter about going to his motherland but his uncle Uchendu a wise old man...
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