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Would You Act Like Okonkwo? - When Things Fall Apart

Hi everyone!

Im reading the book - when things fall apart - right now, and I just love it.

But yesterday I was reading the part where okonkwo is killing his

adoptive sun (if one can put it that way) because he did not want to show weakness.

It was very shocking to me, because thinking that one would kill somebody (especially someone you know) just so that the others wont think that you are weak, is going too far in my eyes. What do you think?

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8 answers

Frankly, if I were in Okonkwo's shoes, I probably would have. Mainly out of fear of change.

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how i love dat book "things fall apart"

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Probably - or most definately - not. I should read the book again to tell precisely. However, there are ages between me and a personality like O., I don't put culture above any other thing. I don't even care if the world is changing a.k.a. "falling apart".

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So would you act like Okonkwo?

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That's just one of Okonkwo's flaws I'm afraid, he wants to outdo everybody in everything and he also wants to feel like the leader or that his in control I think. His pride and image is everything to him, hence why, oh, I don't know if you've finished the book yet. But anyway I agree with you Okonkwo was wrong for doing what he did.

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I think you are right to consider the whole envirenment of those days.

Yet still, would it not just have been enough to watch him being killed by others.

Why would he need to kill him himself. As far as I read in the book, he always seemed

to care about this guy espceially seeing that he was affecting his own son to be a better man.

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First and foremost Okwoknwo is a fictive person, he is not real.

The story is about a strict traditionalist who is standing in the midst of a society that is changing, falling apart. He is ready to sacrifice his son for that, just the same way Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac for the sake of his god's ordeal.

I think the analogy was intended by Achebe. I just wonder why he didn't make him his own blood, would that have been too much of a taboo for the potential readers?

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Hello Udode,

I think the value for life those days was a lot less then than it is now, after all they didn't have hospitals, electricity etc, there were plenty of wars and conflicts (shown in the book) and mothers losing their children would have been more common than it is now, but that is not an excuse for Okonkwo. I think he did this because he felt that his status in village would be damaged significantly if he was seen as weak and I think this idea that he has to always be seen as strong comes from his childhood as his father was very lazy and was the joke of the village. He might not have wanted to kill the boy, but because of the emotional or mental scarring he had as a child seeing his father as an embarrassment, he tries at all times to be the polar opposite of his father. This issue of his father is even more important if you consider how significant it was (and even now) for people to know who your father was and what his actions were e.g if he was a:

coward = your nobody

warrior = you come from a good background

just my thoughts.

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