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Ikemefuna’s Death In Things Fall Apart


Ikemefuna’s Death Crazes Break Down

In the killing of Ikemefuna, many elements of Okonkwo’s character is exposed. I realised that despite Okonkwo’s hard outside, he is very insecure, constantly stressed over people’s understanding of him. Also, through this, we see the softer side of Ok, which is his issue for Ikemefuna, a feeling which he constantly tries to suppress. Lastly, Okonkwo’s stubbornness and his unquestioning loyalty to the tribe is likewise appeared. First of all, the killing of Ikemefuna exposes that Okonkwo is an insecure person.

When Ogbuefi Ezeudu visited Okonkwo with news that the “Umuofia has decided to eliminate (Ikemefuna)”, he particularly encouraged Okonkwo to “not bear a hand in his death”. However, because Okonkwo hesitated of “being thought of as weak”, he killed Ikemefuna. In my opinion, this was probably done out of fear that if he did not do so, he would be considered “effeminate” and therefore had to eliminate Ikemefuna in order to prove his manliness.

Ikemefuna In Things Break Down

This leads me to conclude that Okonkwo is very concerned about how people in the clan perceived him so he constantly attempts to be manly by disappointing any indications of weaknesses. Next, this occasion reveals Okonkwo’s softer side, which is his issue for his kids. After receiving news of the people’s decision to kill Ikemefuna, Okonkwo “sat still for a very long time” hence revealing his inner dispute in deciding whether to kill Ikemefuna. On one hand he cares too much for Ikemefuna to eliminate him, but on the other, does not wish to be considered as weak.

Additionally, after Ikemefuna’s death, it appeared that Okonkwo was deeply impacted as he “did not taste any food for 2 days” and “did not sleep in the evening”, thinking about Ikemefuna. To me, therefore, this highlights that Okonkwo has a womanly side to him, and I feel that he in truth cares a lot for his kids, and was really guilty for killing Ikemefuna, the surrogate son whom he had actually formerly grown “very fond of”. In addition, this event exposes Okonkwo’s persistent character. A smart elderly male, Ogbuefi Ezeudu had actually alerted Okonkwo to have “absolutely nothing to do with” the killing of Ikemefuna.

Regardless of these words of caution coming from a senior who was smarter and understood better, Okonkwo disobeys them and “cuts (Ikemefuna) down” anyhow. In doing so, he had actually even come close to breaking a tribal law by eliminating a kinsman. In my viewpoint, this occasion hence highlights Okonkwo’s stubbornness that nothing would hinder him from what he feels he requires to achieve. To me it is apparent that his persistent character is very much due to his fear of being perceived as weak, and hence to the degree that he defies orders from a senior.

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