Things Fall Apart– by Chinua Achebe (Diverse Cultures Essay)
“Things Break Down” by Chinua Achebe a) Describe in detail your impression of Okonkwo’s character having actually checked out part one of the book. b) What is Okonkwo’s response to the arrival of the white man, and how does he manage the modifications that come about under the influence of a various culture. c) Explain your own response to Okonkwo’s actions at the close of the novel. a) Okonkwo is a senior member of the Ibo people in Nigeria at the end of the last century. He is an incredibly complicated character, and in my opinion has 2 extremely different sides to his character.
On one hand, Okonkwo is viewed as an effective, highly regarded male, who is popular throughout his house town of Umuofia and beyond. He is a brave courageous warrior, who as a boy had actually brought great honour to his village by beating Amalinze, and who for 7 years had not been beaten “from Umuofia to Mbaino”. He is not a male to shy away from conflict or fight. He is not a particularly smart male, however a male of action, who is most likely to settle an argument through violence than settlement. He has an impulsive, explosive nature which can typically land him in trouble.
By nature, he is energetic and hardworking, and has no perseverance with men that are idle. He is a pillar of the community, and is looked up to by the bulk of his clan members for his success and prosperity in life. Nevertheless, beyond this manly screen of strength and fortitude lies a man whose life is controlled by worry, a fear of being thought about a failure. The primary contribution to this fear is his dad Unoka. When discussing Okonkwo, it is difficult for Unoka’s name not to come up, as he has been such a fantastic impact and contribution to his personality, and the way in which he picks to live his life.
Throughout his life, Unoka had actually been a lazy, unskilled man, who was considered as a failure by the majority of his fellow clan members. Unlike Okonkwo, he was an extremely tranquil, merry guy who did not like war and violence. He was also a very emotional male, with a sensitive and reflective nature. When he died, he died having actually taken no title, and was greatly in debt. For that reason, Okonkwo makes every effort to stamp out any character qualities that he sees in himself that advise him of his daddy. In truth, he attempts to be the complete opposite of his daddy in every method.
Also, due to his father’s unsuccessfulness in life, Okonkwo was not born with the running start in life that so many other young men had. No one could perhaps say that Okonkwo was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, as from an early age he was already fending for himself, and all the terrific things that he accomplished were due to his own benefit and perseverance. In some ways this was a good idea, as it made Okonkwo into the independent, strong headed male that he is. However, while Unoka was far from best, he also had some assets, such as his gentleness, and his kindness.
However, Okonkwo saw every aspect of his father’s character as unwanted, whatever it might have been. This leads individuals to believe that he is a terrible, extreme male, but in reality Okonkwo has an extremely protective, loving side to his character. However, this is the side he prefers to keep covert, for worry that individuals may compare him to his dead daddy, and he might be thought about a failure. This would be an enormous tragedy according to Okonkwo, as he cares a lot about what other people consider him, and in every circumstance he is faced with, he strives to respond in a way that people would consider to be brave and manly.
Okonkwo treats his kids in the same harsh way that he deals with everybody else, though it is apparent that he looks after them quite. Nevertheless, since he so severely wants them to be effective and flourishing in life, he tends to take the incorrect technique, and is extremely rude and aggressive towards them. He also tends to blow things out of percentage, and overreact to the tiniest error or incident. He is more crucial of his children than his child, as he is exceptionally sexist, and has extremely strong viewpoints regarding how a man need to act.
He expects them to all mature to be brave fearless warriors, rather like himself. He likewise tends to compare himself to his sons too much, which is not completely reasonable, as he lived in such various circumstances from them, and needed to adapt to a much harder way of living. This leads to his kids not having a very good relationship with him. In reality, they are rather terrified of him, and it does not need much creativity to see why. His relationships with his better halves are not any better, as he has really sexist concepts as to how relationships in between husband and wife need to be.
He thinks them to be the inferiors of males, and acts in an extremely impatient and rude manner towards them, treating them with no regard whatsoever. However, I am sure that he looks after them in his own way, however being Okonkwo, does not have a very good way of expressing it. However, it is not totally Okonkwo’s fault that he thinks in this way, as the society in which he lives enforces such narrow minded views as to how a female ought to act towards and be treated like by her other half, so he sees the way in which he treats his wives as commonplace, and sees absolutely nothing incorrect with it.
Regarding the laws and religious beliefs of his clan, Okonkwo tends to embrace the views of the bulk, and has an inclination to follow them blindly, without much thought. He is entirely against individuality and new ideas, and thinks really highly in the old method of setting about things. He is not one to contemplate upon things, and believes that to question the laws of his ancestors would be an excellent abomination. He accepts the laws and religious beliefs of the clan without question, and is totally happy to live his life in accordance to them.
In spite of this, due to his impetuosity, he can in some cases inadvertently go against the law of the clan, or react in a way that sets him in a bad light in their eyes. However, it is constantly a spur of the minute thing, and he always regrets it later on. However, already it is in some cases too late to apologize, and he needs to face up to the repercussions of his actions. b) Even prior to white guys started to show up in Umuofia and its surrounding villages, Okonkwo has already heard rumours of men who were “as white as chalk, and had no toes”.
At the time this idea was semi legendary and they jokingly compared them to Adami a popular leper. It was only when Okonkwo spoke with his pal Obierika in his second year of exile that their neighbouring town, Abame had been totally eliminated by the white guys and some of their African converts, that he started to take the idea seriously. Abame had been eliminated due to the fact that they had actually eliminated the very first missionary that was sent out by the white males to survey the land, because their oracle had anticipated that the white guy would separate their clan, and spread damage.
It was also predicted that more white males were on their way. On hearing the news, Okonkwo’s action was not one of worry or apprehension, he blamed their fate on the people of Abame for not being armed at all times considering that the previous caution of threat. Even after they arrived in Mbanta to preach about their God and religious beliefs, Okonkwo only remained to listen in the hope that it would pertain to driving the guys out, or whipping them. He thought, that like him, individuals would concern them as foolish, and not listen much to what they had to state.
Later on however, the Christian Church started to win over converts, and among them, in his passion eliminated the spiritual python, the most revered animal in Mbanta and all the surrounding clans. Naturally, Okonkwo is extremely distressed by this abomination, and wants to see them dealt with really roughly, “Let us not reason like cowards,” stated Okonkwo. “If a guy comes into my hut and def? cates on the flooring, what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! I take a stick and break his head. That is what a guy does.
These people are everyday putting filth over us, and Okeke states we must pretend not to see.” In the future Okonkwo learns from among his cousins that his son Nwoye had been going to Christian conferences. In my opinion, on first hearing of this news, Okonkwo enters into a state of shock, and he doubts of what to do, which is not particular of him, “The ladies started to talk excitedly, however Okonkwo sat unmoved.” After Nwoye returns from the conference, he went into the Obi to salute his dad, but he did not reply.
Then, when Nwoye reversed to walk away, Okonkwo unexpectedly went back to his old self, and sprang to his feet, grasped Nwoye by the neck, and demanded to understand where he had actually been. When Nwoye failed to answer, Okonkwo struck him savagely with a stick. It is just when his uncle yelled out to him to let Nwoye go, that he launched the young boy. In my opinion, Okonkwo is a lot more hurt and dissatisfied then he likes to admit, and tries to tell himself that Nwoye isn’t worth it. His first thought was to “take up his matchet, go to the church, and wipe out the disgusting and corrupt gang. Later on, he became thoughtful, and depressed, and contemplated what it would resemble if when he passes away, all his kids do the same as Nwoye, and he sees himself and all his forefathers crowding around their ancestral shrine, and there being nobody there to praise them, while his kids instead worship the white guy’s god. Soon after this, Okonkwo’s seven years of exile ended, and he was permitted to go back to his dad land, Umuofia. It was only then that he realised what an excellent hold the white men and their fans had over their way of living.
In Mbanta, he had not realised this, although they had actually all heard stories of the white male building a place of judgement in Umuofia, and hanging individuals who failed to follow their laws. However, no-one had actually truly taken these stories really seriously, and believed it would be really easy to drive them out of the clan if they ended up being more irritating. As he found out from his good friend, Obierika on going back to Umuofia, the church had actually prospered in acquiring more converts, and now it was not just the castaways of society who signed up with, but often they lost even a worthwhile male to the Christians.
On top of that they had also brought with them a federal government system, and real to the stories told in Mbanta, males who did not conform were either sent to prison, or hanged. Okonkwo was significantly distressed and depressed when he heard of these happenings, and failed to understand why the war like people he once understood had actually caught the laws and custom-mades of the white men. He was really disappointed in them, and could not understand why they had “lost the power to fight” He believed the only choice was to eliminate the men, and drive them out of their land.
His talk with Obierika left him quiet, and pensive, and the 2 guys beinged in silence for a very long time after. Right after this, a Christian guy of the name of Enoch, committed among the greatest criminal activities a male might dedicate, by unmasking an egwugwu in public. In a meeting of all the masked Egwugwu of Umuofia, Okonkwo stated adamantly that they need to eliminate the missionary, and drive out the Christians. While they disagreed to take it that far, they did, in Okonkwo’s viewpoint, agree to do something concrete.
After this had actually been achieved, Okonkwo felt a lot better than he had in a long time, and his faith in the clan was brought back. He felt it was alike “the great old days again, when a warrior was a warrior.” However, right after, the leaders of Umuofia (of whom Okonkwo is one) were welcomed to the headquarters of the District Commissioner, and while they were there, having a “friendly” conversation, they were handcuffed, and locked up till a ransom was spent for their release. During this time they were treated very severely by the court messengers, and were jeered at, mocked and beaten.
Naturally, Okonkwo, being the proud, dignified, male that he is, was absolutely degraded and humiliated, and has probably never ever been treated in this way before in his life. When he is lastly launched, he is set on revenge, and now the bitterness he feels is joined a “kind of child like excitement.” It did not matter to him whether the clan would decide to go to war. He is adamant, that some one is going to pay for the treatment he received in the white man’s court, and if the clan, “choose to be cowards, he would go out and avenge himself.” He then thinks back about previous wars, and tells himself that “worthwhile males disappear. The next day a substantial crowd collected in the market location of Umuofia, to consider what would be done relating to the Christian Missionaries and their fans. The meeting was going well up until 5 court messengers turned up, and tried to get the conference to stop. Okonkwo recognising the head messenger, who made his life such a misery in his time of imprisonment, was overcome with fury, and beheaded him with two fast descents of his matchet. It is at this point that he understood that Umuofia would never go to war, he realised this because they had actually permitted the remaining messengers to leave.
Rather of burglarizing action, they had broken out into turmoil. He has now, in my opinion quit all hope for individuals of Umuofia to go back to the brave, worthy males they when were. He feels that he is absolutely alone, and sees there is no point going on anymore now that individuals he when knew and enjoyed have turned soft, like women. He yields to anguish, and chooses to end his life. c) My very first reaction when I discovered that Okonkwo had actually decided to end his own life was one of fantastic shock and shock.
I had actually not even contemplated that such a thing could happen, and even until the eleventh hour, I still did not prosper in guessing what had occurred. I think it was an enormous catastrophe that such a great guy ought to die in such a pitiful method, and I was significantly dissatisfied that he had passed by some other strategy. I did not think it could have ever been possible for such a strong minded, ambitious man, to even consider ending all of it, and I concerned the conclusion that he need to have yielded to great misery, in order to take matters up until now.
Nevertheless, Okonkwo had always been a man to over react, even to the tiniest problem, and when faced with such a huge one, he needs to have felt as if their was nothing left to live for. However, when you get a higher insight into the matter, the reason why he decided to end his existence ends up being more apparent. I do not believe he chose to eliminate himself since he feared the effects of his actions, but since he might not cope with the permanent changes that had actually happened to individuals of Umuofia during his lack.
He felt that all the qualities that had actually once been treasured in his society had been forgotten, and that his people had actually lost the will to fight. They were no longer the brave, manly men he remembered them to be, and he grieved for the war like men he had as soon as understood who had actually become “soft like ladies.” Okonkwo reacted to the modifications like a fish out of water, and ultimately felt that he could no longer cope with life. It was as if he had fallen into a pit of quicksand, and was sinking lower and lower till he was totally immersed