Ignorance Is Anything But Bliss Essay

Submitted By laaurenm0
Words: 1323
Pages: 6

Professor Joyce
English 103
8 June 2014

Achebe begins his novel by introducing the main character Okonkwo. He describes him as powerful and strong. According to Achebe, “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements “( 3). Okonkwo is described as coming from a poor family and despises his own father for not having done more with his own life. Okonkwo describes his father as a , “ agbala “which is another name for a woman and a man with no titles ( Achebe 13 ). Okonkwo is determined to hate all his father had ever loved. He becomes emotionless with the exception of hatred and anger. When he begins to feel anything he convinces himself these feelings will make him weak like a woman , such as his father was compared to , and in fear he turns these emotions into hate. He is described as “ruling his family with a heavy hand and his family lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper “(Achebe 13). At a young age he has achieved two titles and contributes these great achievements to his chi, his inner god, and determines his own destiny to be great. Many of the Igbo clan feel he is a leader in the beginning of the novel. As time goes on this observation changes. Charles R Larson a professor of literature at American University,

Professor Joyce
English 103
8 June 2014

Washington D.C . wrote , “ Okonkwo –as the embodiment of the traditional Ibo man –is caught in a time warp from which it may be impossible to escape . His strengths are all physical, and within the traditional order have served him well, but the imperialism that will shortly befall his people will require something besides brute strength, Tragically, his lack of self – reflection and intellectual analysis will soon become his downfall “(“Okonkwo in his time “World and I, from Opposing Viewpoints in Context 2). The Igbo practice tribal traditions to worship their gods, sacrificing animals and even humans if they feel the human unfit and this must be done to please a gods. If laws are broken they also had a customary practice of handling that too. While by all appearances it would seem they have a society not much different of that of any western society with exception that most westerners began to become more civilized. Human sacrifices were viewed as taboo in western societies and a punishable crime. Okonkwo begins to take actions which are considered taboo to his native tribe. He acts out without thought, for instance he broke the custom of peace week when he beat his wife. Warned by others not to do so he continued on anyway .An elder

Professor Joyce
English 103
8 June 2014

of the village recalls past customs practiced during peace week , when telling two other tribal men, “ that in the past a man who broke the peace was dragged on the ground through the village until he died . But after a while this custom was stopped because it spoiled the peace which it was meant to preserve “(Achebe 31). This is an example that over time old traditional customs can be changed and the tribes are capable of adapting. When one of Okonkwo careless actions leads him to be exiled from his beloved fatherland of Umuofia, the depicted hero becomes an outcast and thus begins his downfall.
During his exile his fatherland has been slowly invaded by missionaries of a new religion. The white man has appeared in his fatherland and was preaching his own beliefs, “We have been sent by this great God to ask you to leave your wicked ways and false gods and turn to Him so that you may be saved when you die ” (Achebe 145). When actions to rid the white man and his magical medicine by killing one of them, by an outside tribe named Abame , it was learned the consequences were severe. The whole tribe was wiped out by the Europeans. The Igbo people…