This is shown in chapter one which describes how ‘Unoka, the grown up, was a failure. He was poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat.’ This deep contextual evidence of the father that represented everything Okonkwo despises shows his shallow view of acceptance in society, disregarding the values of family. This individual assertion of belief from Okonkwo contrasts with Salem’s need for collective strength to gain results. Achebe consistently refers to Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, throughout the text as a recurring image contrasting with Okonkwo’s aspirations in order to remind the reader of Okonkwo’s motivation of venturing to belong in a heavily masculine
When Okonkwo takes part in the murder of the young boy, his birth son, Nwoye, loses all respect for his father, and that is the turning point in Okonkwo’s life because he no longer is the valued individual among all members of his family. In Okonkwo’s understanding, “No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man” (Achebe 58). This chapter drives the plot because Okonkwo is no longer respected by his only son, who was the one person that he had the most faith and hope in. In terms of character, Okonkwo did not respect his own father, so he wanted to make sure that this wasn’t the case with his children, especially his son. Okonkwo wants Nwoye to grow into a strong and powerful man,
In order for a man to be considered powerful in this society, he must possess general manliness and fearlessness. Okonkwo is the protagonist in this novel, and because of his boldness and cruel masculinity, he is deeply respected by the villagers in Umuofia. Okonkwo is the epitome of a powerful man by the villagers’ standards. First and foremost, an adolescent boy growing up in the Ibo society had certain expectations in how he should behave and specific social roles he must abide by in order to be considered a man. Okonkwo frequently gets upset at his son, Nwoye, because he believes he engages in feminine activities and Okonkwo associates femininity with weakness (this misogynistic point of view is shared by the rest of the clan).
Okonwo strives to make his way in a world that seems to value manliness. In so doing, he rejects his father views and stands on his own feet. Okonkwo consciously adopts opposite ideals of his father and becomes productive, wealthy, thrifty, brave, violent, and adamantly opposed to music and anything else that he perceives to be “soft,” such as conversation and emotion. Okonkwo achieves great social and financial success by embracing these ideals. However, Okonkwo is a tragic hero in the classical sense.
His family suffers when he takes his anger out on them for the simplest things just to prove he is a man. Other tribe members suffer when Okonkwo continues to let them down time after time. Okonkwo’s fear of turning into his father, changes him into a different person that hardly resembles his past characteristics of being a heroic, smart and wealthy warrior. Instead, he changes into a man that cannot respect himself and others. Okonkwo is a clan leader in Umuofia.
The relationships each play a key role in developing the personalities of both Okonkwo and Nwoye, and pave the road for their decisions, as well as events that happen along the storyline. While Okonkwo is meticulous and bitter, his son Nwoye is mild and gentle. This is derived from the fact that both Okonkwo and Nwoye have a disinclination for their fathers, leading to their opposite personalities. Okonkwo made it a point to be wholly in contrast with his father. He justifiably thinks of his father as an effeminate, worthless, lazy man.
One of which he could not match. Okonkwo sees Nwoye as his father, a weak and lazy failure to society. But Okonkwo's hope for Nwoye is lifted once Ikemefuma is introduced into the story. Ikemefuna is like an older brother to Nwoye and the son Okonkwo always wanted. Nwoye starts to learn from Ikemefuna.
Things Fall Apart In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, the main character, is a very strong man and very respected. He is also very strict and unpredictable. Okonkwo is banned from his clan because of an accident and is forced to flee to his mother clan. Okonkwo is the kind of man who does not wilt under pressure but this growing season in foreign lands will put him to the test. In Things Fall Apart, Achebe combines forceful diction with vivid imagery and incorporates descriptive syntax to define how moving to his mother clan was difficult for Okonkwo and his family.
Okonkwo had a horrible temper and this caused him to be very violent. He depicted these actions by beating his family in effort to control them, he believed his first son Nwonye was like his father therefore, he beat him often in attempt to make him more manly. He also beat up his second wife because he came back from outside and his afternoon meal had not yet been prepared, disregarding the fact that it was a peace week and every family was supposed to be peaceful. He made poor decisions by participating in the killing of the boy Ikemefuna who lived with him and called him father, after he had been warned not to participate in his killing. The continuous disagreement between Okonkwo and the new religion, people, and values adopted by his society results in his life falling apart and suicide, at the end of the book.
The laziness of Unoka encouraged Okonkwo to rise above the live his father lived. Additionally, the concern of changing fellow townspeople belief that Onkonkwo would be equivalent to Unoka and constructing his own reputation were also a factor in his motives. The quotation of Okonkwo “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 an agbala.” (Achebe 13), shows the distinctive mind set of Okonkwo in comparison to Unoka. The relationship between Okonkwo and his family also inspire Okonkwo’s static character decisions. With his strong attitude he has no patience for his wife that is why she ends up getting beat many times through the novel.