The author, Chinua Achebe, in Things Fall Apart, created her characters in a specific way, to best appeal to the reader’s interest. Each character has a distinct personality and this individuality contributes to the plot of the story. Although the characters are different, the traditions and the culture of the villages bring the people together as one.
The most important character of all is obviously Okonkwo, the son of the effeminate and lazy Unoka. 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. Although he is a superior character, his manliness and rage brings about his own destruction. Okonkwo is gruff, at times, and usually unable to express his feelings (as the narrator frequently uses the word “inwardly” in reference to Okonkwo’s emotions). But his emotions are indeed quite complex, as his “manly” values conflict with his “unmanly” ones, such as his fondness for Ikemefuna and Ezinma. What is interesting about the concept of this textuality is that the narrator privileges us with information that Okonkwo’s fellow clan members do not have—which by the end, allows us to see the worried father beneath the seemingly indifferent and fiery exterior.