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Okonkwo is a respected and influential leader within the Igbo community of Umuofia in eastern Nigeria. He first earns personal fame and distinction, and brings honor to his village, when he defeats Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contest.
Okonkwo determines to gain titles for himself and become a powerful and wealthy man in spite of his father's weaknesses. Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was a lazy and wasteful man. He often borrowed money and then squandered it on palm-wine and merrymaking with friends.
Consequently, his wife and children often went hungry. Within the community, Unoka was considered a failure and a laughingstock. He was referred to as agbala, one who resembles the weakness of a woman and has no property.
Unoka died a shameful death and left numerous debts. Okonkwo despises and resents his father's gentle and idle ways. He resolves to overcome the shame that he feels as a result of his father's weaknesses by being what he considers to be "manly"; therefore, he dominates his wives and children by being insensitive and controlling.
Because Okonkwo is a leader of his community, he is asked to care for a young boy named Ikemefuna, who is given to the village as a peace offering by neighboring Mbaino to avoid war with Umuofia.
Ikemefuna befriends Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, and Okonkwo becomes inwardly fond of the boy. Over the years, Okonkwo becomes an extremely volatile man; he is apt to explode at the slightest provocation. He violates the Week of Peace when he beats his youngest wife, Ojiugo, because she went to braid her hair at a friend's house and forgot to prepare the afternoon meal and feed her children.
Later, he severely beats and shoots a gun at his second wife, Ekwefi, because she took leaves from his banana plant to wrap food for the Feast of the New Yam.
After the coming of the locusts, Ogbuefi Ezeuder, the oldest man in the village, relays to Okonkwo a message from the Oracle. The Oracle says that Ikemefuna must be killed as part of the retribution for the Umuofian woman killed three years earlier in Mbaino.
He tells Okonkwo not to partake in the murder, but Okonkwo doesn't listen. He feels that not participating would be a sign of weakness. Consequently, Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna with his machete.
Nwoye realizes that his father has murdered Ikemefuna and begins to distance himself from his father and the clansmen. Okonkwo becomes depressed after killing Ikemefuna, so he visits his best friend, Obierika, who disapproves of his role in Ikemefuna's killing.
Obierika says that Okonkwo's act will upset the Earth and the earth goddess will seek revenge.A summary of Symbols in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Things Fall Apart and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Things Fall Apart essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
Things Fall Apart by: Chinua Achebe Things Here's where you'll find analysis about the book as a whole, from the major themes and ideas to analysis of style, tone, point of view, and more.
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Things Fall Apart, published in , is Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe’s first novel. Simultaneously portraying the traditions and beliefs of Nigerian Ibo culture and engaging with the narrative of European colonialism in Africa, Things Fall Apart uses one man’s story to speak for many.
Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe Essay - Polygamy was another vital part of the Igbo culture. The people understood the necessity of having many people to tend to the crops.
The key phrase of the poems reads, "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold." Underlying the aforementioned cultural themes is a theme of fate, or destiny.
This theme is also played at the individual and societal levels.