Perception of Okonkwo in "Things Fall Apart" Analytical Essay

Perception of Okonkwo in "Things Fall Apart"
An analysis of the perception of Okonkwo in the novel "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe.
# 118774 | 1,724 words | 0 sources | 2008 | US
Published on Feb 23, 2010 in English (Analysis) , Literature (African)

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The paper illustrates how a changing culture can cause a drastic shift in the perception of a person, even when the person refuses to change. The paper shows how at the beginning of "Things Fall Apart", Okonkwo is perceived to be one of the most honorable men, but after a tragic accident, Okonkwo is thrown into a different culture and is forced to be humbled by the loss of his possessions, by the established men around him, and by the invading white men. The paper points out that Okonkwo's ultimate suicide highlights his fall from being considered one of the greatest men in Umuofia, to becoming merely an insignificant paragraph in a book.

From the Paper:

"Albert Einstein once said, "Relativity teaches us the connection between the different descriptions of one and the same reality." Such is the case in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart", a novel that illustrates that while a person may remain unwavering and purposefully unchanged, the turning tides of culture can nonetheless cause a drastic shift in perception of him and affect him just the same. In this case, it is one so drastic as to leave the main character, Okonkwo, completely apart from that which he once was. At the novel's beginning, Okonkwo is perceived by many (including himself) to be nothing less than one of the most honorable men that his native clan of Umuofia has ever seen. After a tragic accident, however, Okonkwo is thrown into a culture of a clan more than slightly variant from his own, and is for the first time humbled by both the loss of his possessions and by the established, praiseworthy men around him. Finally, returning to his homeland to find that the invading "white men" have irreparably altered the traditions he has clung to since birth, Okonkwo finds that although he has remained steadfast in his pursuit of the status quo, he cannot single-handedly turn back the clock to a time when honor was strongly in his grasp."

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