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In both Things Fall Apart and The Great Gatsby, both protagonists, exhibit character flaws of obsession and the inability to change that lead to their downfall.

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Introduction

1000614 Mrs. Holmes English 3 30 May 2008 A Pre-Socratic Ionian philosopher named Heraclitus once made an important statement regarding a man's character, stating: "Character is destiny." Heraclitus' statement proves evident in the novels Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Both pieces mutually include characters that encompass distinguishable traits that account for their destiny. A major component of some literature, such as the novels addressed, is characters in the novel possess traits that can foreshadow the characters destiny. These traits displayed by the protagonists are mainly flaws and imperfections in disposition that lead to the downfall. In both Things Fall Apart and The Great Gatsby, both protagonists, exhibit character flaws of obsession and the inability to change that lead to their downfall. Gatsby and Okonkwo display qualities of obsession that are characteristic of their inevitable downfall. Gatsby gazes at Daisy as they reminisce about old times and "hadn't once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes" (Fitzgerald 92). Along with Daisy, the desire to please her in any possible manner is the object of Gatsby's obsession throughout the novel. ...read more.

Middle

Strength is associated with Okonkwo, therefore he must strive to be strong at all times; however he does not recognize his obsession with strength withers at his destiny. As Okonkwo ponders the ideal of weakness he touches on a thought of his fathering, remember that "People laughed at him because he was a loafer, and they swore never to lend him any more money because he never paid back" (Achebe 5). Part of Okonkwo's motivation for the obsession of not displaying weakness, lies in the image that his father projected as a clan member. The obsession of not becoming his father withers his character and causes him to focus solely on the one goal of not becoming weak while disregarding all other aspects of his life, as Gatsby did. As both novels progress, the character flaw of obsession evident in their personalities, elicits the downfall of each of the protagonists. Gatsby and Okonkwo both display the inability to change in times of major acculturation occurring in their environment that intensify the inevitability of their downfall. Nick observes the odd behavior of Gatsby and comments that "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. ...read more.

Conclusion

in a flash Okonkwo drew his machete. The messenger crouched to avoid the blow. It was useless. Okonkwo's machete descended twice and the man's head lay beside his uniformed body." (Achebe 204).Okonkwo is at his last grips with the changing of his culture that the Christians have caused. Okonkwo's dire need of a last resort to save the culture and his tribe influenced him to strike the messenger in rage and kill him. His unavoidable attachment to the past culture forced him to act in a rash manner His rash action and the failure of his tribal members to act on his impulse, contributed to his commitment of suicide. The protagonists of the novel both hold the quality of not accepting change, which, along with their character flaw, contributes to their downfall. The obsessive qualities and the inability to adhere that both Okonkwo and Gatsby possessed are what led to their demise. Their character in fact was their destiny. The manner in which they dealt with their flaws is paralleled in both novels, in similar and slightly different ways, however in the end; there is a common link between the protagonists and the range of their character flaws. Heraclitus put it brilliantly when he stated, "Character is destiny". For Okonkwo and Gatsby, their character was their destiny. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1000614 1 ...read more.

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