Okonkwo's Role In Things Fall Apart

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Based in Nigeria and set in the 1890’s, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe highlights the story of a man named Okonkwo who resides in a Nigerian clan named Umuofia. From the strict gender roles and religious practices to the complexity of intertribal customs and language, the purpose of Achebe’s writing is clear: African life is not as primitive and simplistic as western culture perceives and portrays it to be. One major theme of the book was the man’s role in the clan. Okonkwo despised his father and the weakness associated with him; he believed a man must be strong, hardworking, and tough on his wife and children. Okonkwo, although fond of Ikemefuna and his other children, showed no affection because he believed emotions to be associated with weakness and taught his sons the same idea. Later in the book, Okonkwo goes as far as to doubt a man’s strength if he shows attachment to his wife. The role of a man is solid in Okonkwo's village, down to the purchase of his wives. This continuity in the story…show more content…
Okonkwo himself won prestige by beating a well-respected fighter in a wrestling match. Okonkwo's wife commented that he won her heart the day she watched him win of of the wrestling matches. Okonkwo takes great pride in the fact that he had taken five human heads and on special occasions drinks out of one of them. Okonkwo's pride in such an revolting act leads the reader to ask if such inhumane practices had been or are still present in war. In fact, taking human heads as trophies is a practice that has remained relevant over hundreds of years. Over time, the practice developed into “scalping” because taking the scalp was much easier than taking the entire human head. Scalping has been seen everywhere from intertribal warfare between the Pawnees and Sioux to as recently as the Civil War when confederate soldiers would decorate their saddles with the scalps of their
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