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live by the sword, die by the sword

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Wiley 1 Daimon Wiley Professor Kalubi African Literature 16 July 2008 Live by the sword, die by the sword The African novel, Things Fall Apart, by Achebe Chinua gives a realistic look into the lives of the Igbo people. The author provides the reader with a chronological look into the struggles of the main character, Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a round, robust character that is in constant conflict. He is conflicted by the man his father was, by the man he is and by the man he believes his son will become. Okonkwo worked relentlessly to be what his father was not. He believed that hard work and a hard hand would eventually get him the highest title, unlike his father who was lazy and had no status. "With a father like Unoka, Okonkwo did not have the start in life which many young men had. He neither inherited a barn nor a title, nor even a young wife. But in spite of these disadvantages, he had begun even in his father's lifetime to lay the foundations of a prosperous future. ...read more.


This fate one could not escape and it followed him to his grave. Ikemefuna was a boy that Okonkwo inherited, because the boy was taken from his family. Ikemefuna lived with Okonkwo and his family for three years and he felt like a member of the family. He even called Okonkwo father. Deep down Okonkwo was very fond of the boy. He enjoyed telling Ikemefuna and Nwoye stories of his killings and fights in his obi. Okonkwo's fear of being perceived as weak commanded his life so greatly, that he delivered the final blow to end the boy's life. A boy who called him father. Okonkwo's own obsession with masculinity and strength caused his demise. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo did many things to prove his masculine quality. Many of these things are debatable as to whether they affirm Okonkwo's masculinity or if they Wiley 3 bring out his true weakness and lead to his destruction. Okonkwo's ignorance often led to his inability to accept change in tradition. ...read more.


Wiley 4 Okonkwo started working at a very young age to acquire the things in life that his father did not have. He successfully accomplished having a nice home, several wives and children and a very good harvest of yams. But with all he accomplished, was he successful? His family lived in fear of him, his son denounced him and he had been exiled from the land that he loved so much. His rise and fall had several ironic incidents. Okonkwo detested his father and how he lived his life and his son Nwoye felt the same way about him. Okonkwo always made reference to his father's shameful death and Okonkwo committed suicide. Suicide in their custom is a serious offense. "It is an abomination for a man to take his own life. It is an offence against the Earth, and a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen. His body is evil, and only strangers may touch it." (Achebe p.147) Okonkwo's family could not bury him, only strangers. So he would die disrespectfully, like his father. Okonkwo lived by the sword and he died by the sword. ...read more.

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