The Essence of Okonkwo
How the Umofian man finally fell apart.
Okonkwo "drew his machete and cut (Ikemefuna) down. He was afraid of being thought weak"(44). Later, he faced grief for killing the boy, but struggled because he felt like he was not being manly.
Okonkwo felt like an outcast after his exile,"he knew that he had lost his place among the nine masked spirits,"(121). This meant he lost all the power and respect he had worked hard to gain before.
The diverging paths show that Okonkwo wanted to follow a life opposite of his father's. He disliked how lazy he was and vowed to "hate everything that his father Unoka had loved,"(11).
After his exile there was conflict between people, but "he knew that Umuofia would not go to war"(147). Eventually, everything in his life fell apart. He couldn't handle the missionaries taking over.
After receiving the exile, Okonkwo had to start a new life. "With the help of his mother's kinsmen he built himself an obi"(94). Here, he needed extra help, even though he normally would refuse.
Okonkwo had many feasts where his power was exemplified. But at the end of his exile, he had a feast to "thank my mother's kinsmen before I go,"(119). This shows that he can be selfless at times too.
Okonkwo is disappointed when Nwoye becomes lazy. He "will only have a son who is a man,"(123) and becomes sad when he decides Nwoye is not. This shows how much his father's ethic influenced him.
Okonkwo became a powerful man and earned status. "At an early age he had achieved fame as the greatest wrestler in all the land,"(20). His drive for success is from wanting to avoid his father's past.
Like a storm, Okonkwo was aggressive and angry. His wives and children were usually the victims, for example, "he beat her very heavily.. in his anger,"(22). The beatings were mainly unjustifiable.
Yams were important in Okonkwo's life. A lot of his success is from his plentiful crops because "yam, the king of crops, was a man's crop,"(17) and Okonkwo grew tons, which made him more successful.
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