The with fire as it had always done
The Fall of the CultureSometimes readers may feel sympathetic for Okonkwo because of his inability control himself but most of the time, he deserves his faults. In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the author thought there was a lack of Nigerian colonization and wanted to show an accurate portrayal of the clash between the African culture and western ideas. His book showed two issues, one between Igbo society and another with an unknown culture to them, the British. Okonkwo’s flaw of anger and fear of weakness makes him corrupt because of his dad, Unoka. Therefore, it caused Okonkwo to start from poverty and then work to become the most well-known and wealthy person but slowly falls down. Chinua Achebe uses Okonkwo to portray the true nature of what happens when two cultures clash through misunderstandings and conflicts. To begin with, Okonkwo’s sense of identity before colonization was caused by his fear of weakness and failure. For example, “Okonkwo sprang from his bed, pushed back the bolt on his door and ran into Ekwefi’s hut” (Achebe 76). He has a difficult time interacting with his own kids and showing love for them. The reason for the lack of affection is all as a result of Unoka’s choices and how Okonkwo grew up. Moreover, he thinks that violence is the key to everything and it solves all his problems. Achebe writes, “It filled him with fire as it had always done from his youth. He trembled with the desire to conquer and subdue” (42). Incidents happened where Okonkwo almost killed his wives. For instance, when Ekwefi, his wife “killed” a banana tree, Okonkwo found his loaded gun, shot at her, but missed. Ultimately, Okonkwo’s sense of identity was chaotic because of the economy he was around and his dad’s will of being weak. Furthermore, his reaction towards the white men was a complete disaster. When the British missionaries came to Umuofia and built their church in the Evil Forest, Okonkwo was still in exile. But he knew that when the exile was over, everyone would help him get rid of all the white men. Little did he actually know, no one really did anything, which made Okonkwo furious and despised them for ruining the Ibo culture. Foremost, when Okonkwo noticed that Nwoye kept on going back and forth to the British church and went into a rage. He had been so infuriated by Nwoye’s choice to the point where he “seized a heavy stick that lay on the dwarf wall and hit him two or three savage blows” (Achebe 152). In response, he hated them so much that when a head court messenger came to disrupt their meeting he immediately blew his machete towards the messenger and the head laid next to its body. Most importantly, as Obierika mentions to Okonkwo, “he has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart” (176). He thinks that his power and culture has started to disintegrate since the British have come, and plus if they start war, Okonkwo knew that he would lose but just did not want to admit it. Last of all, Okonkwo’s consequences made up impacts to the author’s purpose. His firsts consequence was the exile for seven years. Then he ultimately had to suicide because he did not want to be thought weak for joining the British. As Achebe stated, “Then they came to the tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling, and they stopped dead” (207). He knows that if his people do not support him, war will not happen. In addition, in the last few chapters, it was a not surprise that Okonkwo had killed himself. Once the white men came and made the Ibo culture slowly disappear therefore, his world has been destroyed, and Okonkwo refuses to live in the British’s new world. The irony of it is that Okonkwo worked hard and gained many titles and honors but in the end, he commits suicide, which leaves him as a disgrace just like his father. All of this leads back to the author’s purpose where misunderstandings between the Ibo and British cause one major conflict in the end. Overall, Chinua Achebe depicts what actually happens when two cultures clash through conflicts with each other by using Okonkwo to illustrate it. His sense of identity before colonization cause him to mainly use violence. And when the British settled down in Umuofia, his response to their staying was not pleasing,and it then caused consequences that proved that he was ultimately weak. Okonkwo’s actions, like his death, affected the whole community, not only himself and just like the turtle folktale, Okonkwo fell from high above and could barely manage to get back up.