Things Fall Apart (Literary Analysis)

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Things Fall Apart Literary Analysis

Okonkwo and his father, Unoka, were two very different people. With just one wife and nothing to leave behind to his only son, Unoka was seen as a failure in the eyes of his village. Okonkwo, however, became a titled man with three wives and a successful harvest every season. He was well respected in his community, despite his impulsive tendencies and rigidness. Although he despised Unoka, Okonkwo would not have grown to be the man that he did if it weren't for his father.

Okonkwo was aware of his father's chronic laziness growing up and he knew firsthand the consequences of that kind of lifestyle. He learned from Unoka's mistakes, and as an adult tried to become the opposite of him. "Okonkwo was ruled by one passion- to hate everything his father had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness." He didn't want to be judged based on the faults his father, and he proved that he was indeed everything Unoka was not: Strong, successful, determined and hardworking.

Okonkwo also lived in perpetual fear of being perceived as weak, as his father had been. This fear drove him to do reckless things such as kill Ikemefuna, who had regarded Okonkwo as a father-figure. "Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak." Such impulsive actions proved him to be tough on the outside, but only weakened him on the inside. Okonkwo came to love Ikemefuna like a son, because he was much more like himself than his own biological son, Nwoye. However, he would never show his affection and later became deeply depressed by what he'd done.

Nwoye, too, chose a very different path than his father. Okonkwo always thought Nwoye was lazy and feminine, much like Unoka. "'...I have done my best to make Nwoye grow into a man, but there is too much of his mother in him.' 'Too much of his grandfather,' Obierika thought, but he did not say it. The same thought also came to Okonkwo's...
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