Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, the definitive post-colonial, African novel, focuses on a character who is in constant struggle with his tribe and with himself. Okonkwo, a purveyor of masculinity in his society, has many reasons for his actions in the novel. The continuing cultural violence in the novel and within the culture (often started and ended by Okonkwo), some argue, is inherent in the contradictions of the Igbo culture (Hoegberg, 69-77). Okonkwo's actions, as well as the actions of others in the novel, explain a culture very sacred to Achebe, and through Okonkwo's various actions and thoughts throughout the novel, the culture seems both precious and brutal, cultural relativism aside. Okonkwo is a character whose chi is in constant conflict, and Okonkwo himself is in constant conflict with himself over the masculinity, overall violence demanded by his honor based Igbo culture, and his relationship with his father.
[...] After telling the District Commissioner that burying Okonkwo was against their custom, one of the men commented, cannot bury him. Only strangers can. We shall pay your men to do it. When he has been buried we will then do our duty by him. We shall make sacrifices to cleanse the desecrated land (Achebe The land was not desecrated because of Okonkwo. It was desecrated by the missionaries. Even though Okonkwo had been cast from their tribe and was in direct opposition to his chi, the tribesmen chose to honor him. [...]
[...] He just hung limp (Achebe, Nwoye, whose chi was in check, is symbolic for the duality of Okonkwo. Okonkwo truly betrays his chi, panicking and killing Ikemefuna in the process, instead of going “limp (Achebe and In a comprehensive essay explaining duality in Things Fall Apart “'Wherever Something Stands, Something Else Will Stand Beside It': Ambivalence in Achebe's Things Fall Apart and the Arrow of by Suzanne Scafe argues that the duality is in the narrator and Okonkwo, is important to stress that although the narrative is critical of Okonkwo's excessive commitment to . [...]
[...] It is, however, notable to mention that Nnoromele is a self-proclaimed member of the “Igbo tribe” and refers to them as a “group of African people with a complex, vigorous, and self–sufficient way of life (Nnormele A key role in Okonkwo's duality and conflict is his father, Unoka. Achebe sums up the relationship between Okonkwo and his father in the first words ever spoken about Unoka: (Okonkwo) had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had had no patience with his father (Achebe, In the text, Unoka is depicted as amerry, deadbeat, musician who held no title in his society. [...]
[...] Okpala goes on to explain that Okonkwo is not destroyed by colonialism, cultural violence, or the destruction of his culture, but rather, Okonkwo is destroyed by the duality of his own chi. Okpala quotes Achebe in a speech saying, man lives here and his chi there. Indeed the human being is only one half (and the weaker half at that) of a person (Okpala, These two halves would suggest that the chi, stronger than Okonkwo the man and at odds with his reason, is responsible for the character's downfall. [...]
[...] The story points, in every direction, that Okonkwo is responsible for his own demise. Indeed, How could a character not be responsible for suicide. If Okonkwo is a narrow-minded, displaced martyr, then so is Ikemefuna. Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Alfred A. Knopf Inc: New York Champion, Ernest A. Story of A Man and His People” Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.” Negro American Literature Forum. (1974): 272-277. Hoeberg, David. “Principle and Practice: The Logic and Cultural Violence of Achebe's Things Fall Apart.” College Literature. [...]
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