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Okonkwo’s Telling Duality

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  1. Introduction
  2. Okonkwo's character and his relationships with the Igbo culture
  3. The idea of Chi ukwu
  4. Okonkwo and colonialism and cultural violence
  5. The dual nature of Okonkwo
  6. The murder of Ikemefuna
  7. Okonkwo's death
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

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 . [...]

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