Things Fall Apart Character Analysis

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Vianne Vitug
5° Honors English 09
October 10, 2012
A Theme and Okonkwo

Things Fall Apart, a novel written by Chenua Achebe takes place in eastern Nigeria around the late 1800s. Achebe introduces Okonkwo, the protagonist of the novel and his ways of life. Okonkwo’s experiences in the novel are illustrated by his role, motivations, conflicts, and their resolutions. Providing readers with the theme of “The fear of emotion can ruin the quality of life.” Achebe portrays Okonkwo, the main character of the story in many ways. Okonkwo was a man of pride and diligence. He was well respected among his clansmen. Despite the many times he tried to convince himself to never show emotion and to always maintain a manly image, his actions said otherwise. In the novel, unlike the majority of the other characters, he was a round and static character. There may have been some side-stories, but in the end, everything eventually directed back to Okonkwo. The story revolves around him and if it was not for his character, the novel would be close to nothing and a book full of dullness. Okonkwo had motivations to keep him going and help sculpt his view of life. These motivations may have not been the best to guide him through his problems, but they were what he had to maintain the “balance” in his life. “Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these… It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father.” He had a strong drive to not become like his father, Unoka. Okonkwo believed that his father was not a “real” man therefore he had diverted anything that reminded him of his father. To be a real man, Okonkwo thought that you needed to be strong, dominant, and never show emotion. In Okonkwo’s eyes, this is what a real man should be, and that is exactly what he had become. At one point in the story, he took part in killing his adopted son, Ikemefuna although he was advised not to. According to Okonkwo, if he did not take part of the process, he would look too...
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