Violence In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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In chapter 11 of How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster reveals the implications that violence in literature poses about a character. Through a slave women's suicide, Foster reveals that in some situations, "the only power they have, is that they may choose to die" (101). In Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo's suicide, an act of self-directed violence, was his way of escaping from the control of the white missionaries and preventing himself from facing the fall of Umuofia. Okonkwo is an aggressive man who despises weakness and failure due to the cowardliness of his father, Unoka. His strong adherence to Ibo traditions combined with his fear of weakness even leads him to sacrifice his adored adoptive son, Ikemefuna because "he was afraid of …show more content…
Although a titled man, Okonkwo has no more control of his beloved village and culture. He knows that there was "fright in [the] tumult" (151) of the people, and knows that he would not be in control of his life much longer. Okonkwo senses the crumbling of the community’s rigid traditional structure and strict values, and thus attempts to escape the faithless world. Although Okonkwo's suicide may seem like a cowardly act of escaping failure, he dies preserving the traditions that he so vehemently honored and revered. With white missionaries changing the culture of his village, the only control that Okonkwo has over his life is through death. He chooses to end his life with his values intact rather than die seeing his beloved Umuofia fall to white men’s hands. Okonkwo’s faith in his culture is so ingrained that he sacrifices the chance for an honorable death to be instead “buried like a dog" (153). Okonkwo gives up everything he has built his life up to, only to die without honors just like his father, However, Okonkwo leaves the world an Umuofian

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