Monday, January 5, 2015

Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe an African village is on the verge of a huge change.  The white men are about to come into the village to try to change their beliefs about a higher power. While this is happening Okonkwo doesn't want to change his beliefs.  He is afraid that changing his lifelong beliefs will make him look feminine and that is what he fears most. Throughout the whole book he is driven by the fear of being seen as feminine.  Slowly the village seems to start agreeing with the white mens belief in Christianity and Okonkwo is driven right over the edge.  Even his family conforms to the new belief, yet he still cannot seem to change. Even though the whole village at this point has converted to Christianity Okonkwo is too stubborn and will not change his beliefs in fear of being seen as feminine.

Okonkwo spent his whole life up to the invasion of the white men trying to be seen as manly and gaining rankings in his village so he would be feared and respected, but when the white men come and invade and everyone converts their beliefs, there is no more need for him to have all these titles and in a way, no need for him to be manly anymore.

Throughout Things Fall Apart fear is a very important idea, and it is one of the reasons as to why Okonkwo lives the life he does."Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw" (Achebe 13) Although we have no way of really knowing, I kind of believe Okonkwo might not be such a sour and fearful man if his father had treated him differently and been more loving and not of been the bad man he was. This would of definitely effected Okonkwo's future a lot, I just don't know how.

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