What would you do if your pride or if you’re a man, your masculinity, depended on everything?
What if a big change in your society determined your fate? In the life changing novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe he explains the change in Nigeria when “The White Men Came”, and how one man struggled with changes over time in his complex small African society.
“Okonkwo was still young, he was already one of the greatest men of his time” [pg.5] The reason for, beginning with the quote seen above is to show you that the man named Okonkwo in “Things Fall Apart”(the main character) he was worried about pride and masculinity at a very young age. Seeing as he was not taken care of by his father when he was younger it is understandable that he would only really have two set fates.
The question is what did Okonkwo choose? Why did he choose this fate?
To Okonkwo, in his eyes, his only fate was to try and be better that his good for nothing father, Unoka. In Okonkwo’s African village culture was something they took strongly not lightly; Along with that their complex society was patriarchal. Many rules in the society was based off of what the men said and precognitions were based off of what the oracle predicted or felt. In their village they had a system of money which included cowry shells and yams. How they married off women was in fact by the trade of yams and how much a man had to offer. Okonkwo himself was known for being a great and powerful man with 3 wives and many obis for his family.
He was known as the great man who beat the biggest and strongest wrestler in the village and that’s how he gained his reputation
“Okonkwo’s prosperity was visible in his household……” [pg.11]
Okonkwo was the boss of everything that had happened in his home life showing that he was the one to be respected. Whereas, the wives and children lived in separate obis, ran the household, and did as they were told. Okonkwo furthermore, wasn’t a great man at all but was indeed a pompous jerk. He felt like he was superior over all the village and as a result, did unlikable actions that lead his village to disfavor Okonkwo in the end. In this African village, changes took place that Okonkwo felt were unnecessary in the end and led him to his one true fate known as “The Woman’s Death”! They were trying to go along with the white men or at least weren’t brave enough to fight against them making Okonkwo disappointed in his village. He believed that Christianity was a bad thing although the majority of his village were having a change of heart about the situation. But in the end Okonkwo wasn’t having it and he did not feel the need to have to change. He wanted to stay as is because he was prideful and he…