Okonkwo's Fear In Things Fall Apart

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TFA Fear Essay In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo's life is dominated by his fear of failing and becoming a failure. Instead of controlling his fear, he allows it to control his life and emotions. For that reason, Okonkwo tries to act brave even though his bravery is a result of his fear of being perceived as fragile and worthless. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, a man who puts the utmost importance in strength, is one of the most powerful men in his clan. In Igbo society, " age [is] respected among his people, but achievement was revered " (8). This suggest that in Igbo culture, a man is viewed by his own personal achievements rather than the success of his father. Okonkwo's father, Unoka, is seen as a coward because he was afraid of…show more content…
Okonkwo is afraid of having a son "who cannot hold up his head in the gathering of the clan [and he] would rather strangle him with [his] own hands" (33). Because he has been so successful in his life, he has high expectations for others as well even though not everyone is meant for that knife of life. Terrified that his son will end up like Unoka, Okonkwo pesters the boy mercilessly in order to shape him into a man. At one point he even strikes down a child that calls him father " [and as the machete came down] Okonkwo looked away. He heard the blow.. He heard Ikemefuna cry 'My father, they have killed me!'... Okonkwo [draws] his machete and cuts him down... He does not want to be thought weak" (61). The fact that he kills Ikemefuna shows that his status and reputation is more important than the life of a child. Although it is not wrong to want to be strong, Okonkwo's actions show that he is not a worthy leader, but simply a man who is afraid of being compared to his father. He strikes fear into those around him because it allows him to feel respected, which is something that his father did not
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