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things fall apart

By samanthaaustin1997 Aug 08, 2014 556 Words
The “Perfect” Life
“You think you are the greatest sufferer in the world? Do you know that men are sometimes banished for life? Do you know that men sometimes lose all their yams and even their children?”(Things Fall Apart p. 135) Chinua Achebe creates a character that is fueled and empowered by his fear of being weak in the sense that he refuses to acknowledge vulnerability in any other person. This, in turn, causes him to be a narcissistic and detached soul. Achebe helps the reader to understand Okonkwo’s egocentric and patriarchal personality that leads him to his last roundup. Not until discovering Okonkwo’s fear of weakness, detachedness, and finally his narcissistic way of life will the reader be able to comprehend why Things Fall Apart is a tragedy. It is evident in nearly every aspect of Okonkwo that he is indeed a very robust and powerful man, and yet on a few rare occasions, achebe reveals that Okonkwo is capable of human thought and emotion..“He was afraid of being thought weak.”(Things Fall Apart, p. 61) In a rare moment Okonkwo questions his masculinity and believes himself to have become “a shivering old woman”(Things Fall Apart, p. 65) when he is thinking about how he killed Ikemefuna. As you can see Okonkwo fig leafs or just plain outright lies to himself saying that he is a very in the saddle man but the truth is once he kills a boy he becomes very lethargic. Okonkwo was a very detached man in the sense of not being able to show his emotion to the people around him. “Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of ” (things fall apart pg.25) because “to show affection was a sign of weakness” (things fall apart pg.25). So when he was proud of Ikemefuna he never said anything about it to anyone but himself, and because of that he only treated him as he treated the others. Though Okonkwo did treat him as a son and therefore you can tell he did care about him but that was the only he actually showed he cared. Okonkwo was a very self centered man even after exile his ultimate goal is to become chief of the clan. “Even in his first year of exile he had begun to plan for his return” (Things fall apart pg.125). so he had decided he was going to make “his compound on a more magnificent scale”(Things fall apart pg.125). “He would build a bigger barn than he had before and… new huts huts for two new wives” (Things fall apart pg.125). “Then he would show his wealth by initiating his sons into the ozo society” (Things fall apart pg.125). As you can see Okonkwo's exile did not affect him at all in any way. “Basicly he would return with a flourish, and regain the seven wasted years” (Things fall apart pg.125). “Okonkwo's body was dangling...dead” (Things fall apart pg.152). In the end Okonkwo's egocentric personality ended him up in death by suicide. It is very sad that all he really cared about was his status and becoming the chief. Things Fall Apart is a book full of tragedies really but the main tragedy is Okonkwo's. Chinua Achebe does a very good job at portraying this throughout the whole book.

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