Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart: Passage Analysis Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these. It was not external, but lay deep within him. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father. Even as a little boy he had resented his father’s failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate had told him that his father was agbala. That was how Okonkwo first came to know that agbala was not only another name for a woman, it could also mean a man who had taken to title. And so Okonkwo was ruled by one passion – to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness (Chapter 2 Pg 3).” This quote shows the truth of how Oknonkwo was not really this cruel, tyrannical man. He lives his life in constant fear of being a failure the same as his dad. Who was very weak and considered lazy by his tribe. Even his father’s death has brought shame to Okonkwo. So he strives to be a successful and affluent man and through his hard work and determination he becomes one. Achebe’s diction in this quote allows the reader to realize the seriousness of Oknonkwo’s fear of failure. For example,” It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil.” This alone shows that his fear of failure is ultimately going to lead to his downfall because failure is what makes him this man who is afraid to show any feelings that will be seen as “agbala” which means womanly. This fear throughout the novel causes him to make rash and impetuous decisions in order to achieve a high stature in the tribe. This fear
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