Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Study Questions
In order to be a representative man in the society, Okonkwo strives not to be seen as weak. His whole life he lived in “fear of failure and of weakness”. (13) To Okonkwo being weak means being like his father, which he does not want to be like. At a young age Okonkwo had already earned respect by becoming the greatest wrestler in the land. Even though he was young he was seen as the “greatest men of all time”. This is because “age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered”. (8) Okonkwo had achieved many great things, such as, having three wives and having a wealthy farm full of yams. He comes into conflict with his society because he accidently murders a young boy. This accident gets him and his family exiled for seven years. 2.
The reason why Okonkwo is the way he is all stems from his father and their relationship. Okonkwo had a coward as a father. He was the type of man who borrowed cowries and never returned anything back. When his father had died “he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt”. (8) Okonkwo was ashamed of this and was determined to be nothing like his father. Okonkwo respected the oracle. He knew what she says goes. A prime example of this is when Ikemefuna (a boy who became almost like a son to him) was called by the oracle to be killed. Even though Okonwo had grown love for the boy he still carried out her wishes. With his first son, Nwoye, Okonkwo had begun to doubt his abilities because he was quite lazy. Okonkwo “sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating”. (14) Throughout the novel him and his son’s relationship deteriorate. The personal, cultural, and historical forces of not being seen as week all shape his character/ identity. I actually think everyone is like this. Our own characters and identities are defiantly highly influenced by personal factors or cultural and historical forces....
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