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How Okonkwo’s Outward Conformity Hides His Personal Questioning In Things Fall Apart


Okonkwo is a character in Chinua Achebe’s unique “Things Fall Apart” who tries to adhere outwardly while questioning inwardly, although he definitely may not seem in the beginning look. Okonkwo’s inner dispute caused by the tensions of conformity and personal questioning add to the work by showing that in any culture, there are customizeds which are not completely accepted, proving, like human nature, no society is best and no guideline goes undisputed.

When Okonkwo adops the young boy Ikemefuna, Okonkwo ends up being extremely keen on him. Inwardly, Okonkwo enjoys Ikemefuna’s manliness and his affect on his other son, Nwoye, as Nwoye looks up to Ikemefuna as a more manly figure and Nwoye efforts to measure up to Ikemefuna as a guy, something Okonkwo can genuinely value and freely take pride in. Okonkwo prefers Ikemefuna, taking Ikemefuna on journeys with him. Outwardly, nevertheless, Okonkwo thinks affection to be a weakness, and so shows none of this feeling. When the people orders they have chosen to kill Ikemefuna after 3 years of him dealing with Okonkwo and his household, Okonkwo is conflicted. He really takes care of Ikemefuna, however joins the party which performs his eliminating out of feeling the self-induced pressure of conformity to promote his own success and the success of the tribe. When a party member strikes the first blow and Ikemefuna calls out ‘dad they are killing me’ Okonkwo immediately leaps in and finishes Ikemefuna off with his machete, terrified of being seen as weak.

While it appears in the minute Okonkwo wholeheartedly agreed with the elders choice, afterwards, Okonkwo can’t eat or sleep for almost 3 days. He is bedridden, his eyes are red, most likely from sobbing and handling intense emotional repercussions of his actions. Outwardly Okonkwo eagerly complies with the people wishes, even too enthusiastically. Disputing with his buddy Obierika exposes Okonkwo’s inner questioning hidden by his swift, outward conformity. Eager to showcase his strength out of worry of inadequacy, Okonkwo concerns why Obierika was not in the eliminating celebration. Obierika informs Okonkwo he simply didn’t wish to, and counters by informing Okonkwo “If the spirits had ordered my child be killed, I would not have actually disobeyed, but I would not have actually done it myself either.” (57 ). In spite of having a strong, masculine, wrestler of a son and a strong suitor for his daughter, (a very outwardly conformist and effective household) Obierika also later on questions why Okonkwo the tribe ordered be eliminated for 7 years for a mishap which ran out Okonkwo’s control, in similar vein as Okonkwo painfully inwardly concerns why he needed to be the one to strike the blow.

This prompts an inner questioning of not always just the spirit’s wisdom or people’s knowledge, but why it had to be done, and what makes the spirits so smart. These two instances of questioning by Obierika and Okonkwo prove that Okonkwo’s questioning has actually found traction and part of the factor ‘things fall apart’ in the tribe was the steep traditions in location were not beyond questioning, because these customs are not entirely explained and logically agreed upon in such a way that appeared fair. While the killing of Ikemefuna is carried out according to a tribal runling, the apparently outright decision left room for obscurity in the type of what action Okonkwo must take, and thus his own imperfect actions left him questioning the imperfections of the choice and his society as a whole. The ruinous masculinity that obliges Okonkwo to devote the act is likewise an item of such an imperfect society in addition to Okonkwo’s own inability complex, coming from his dad’s ‘failure’ in the tradition of the tribe, proving not everyone can conform. On some level possibly Okonkwo had the knowledge to inwardly question why his dad did not be successful aside from his foolish laziness. Maybe another reason for Okonkwo’s dad’s failure was the society he was a part of not using him the course he needed to succeed.

Okonkwo is outwardly a conformist to the custom of the tribe he is a part of to the death. But inwardly, he questions the validity of the tribal customs he so fervently looks for to master better than everybody else and holds sacred above all else. Okonkwo’s questing with other members of the tribe solidify the reality that no tradition, practice or custom-made, no matter how spiritual, goes unquestioned since no no custom, practice or custom-made is best. Any society, no matter it’s ethnic culture or ‘advancement’ is ideal, since we, as we can not escape our imperfect human nature.

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