Okonkwo: Self-Made Man in Chinua Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Okonkwo is a typical tribesman living and adapting to his surroundings. He is actually no different from anyone else in that he acts according to his heart. He truly believes he is doing the right thing and that is what matters.

Okonkwo is not a bad man; he simply makes mistakes and this makes him human. He does not set out to do evil. Upon hearing about Ezeudu's death, Okonkwo is saddened along with the rest of the tribe. Ezeudu was a noble man in the clan and he was also the oldest tribesman. At the funeral ritual, Okonkwo's gun explodes, killing Ezeudu's son. This is a shocking event because nothing like this had happened before. Okonkwo had to obey tribal law and leave the clan because it was a "crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman's son" (124). The law of the land dictated Okonkwo could return to the tribe after seven years' exile. That was not the worst of things: the clan also burned Okonkwo's houses and destroyed his property. Here we see how Okonkwo could be seen as a victim of fate and circumstances. He did not intend to shoot anyone at the funeral that day but he did take his gun along with him to the event. Okonkwo is also happy when the clansmen burn down the church and along with the others guilty of the crime, he arms himself for fear of retribution. He, along with the others, are jailed and Okonkwo is sentenced to hang. All of these events are not Okonkwo's fault and the consequences of events are not his, either. However, he does choose to react to the in specific ways.

Okonkwo may not be the luckiest man in his tribe but he is very independent. He may not have control over what goes on in the tribe but he certainly does not allow himself to be beaten down. Okwonko is a self-made man because he knows his sense of self almost from the beginning of the novel. He never doubts who he is and while this might lead him to be headstrong, it also makes him very aware of what he is doing. He followed his convictions and while he might have been aggressive at times, he was not evil. Some of his actions are wrong but he is only human. In saying that, we see how mankind chooses to do things based on emotion and while fighting for a cause might seem like a good idea, it is also good to know when it is also a hopeless one. Okonkwo would not have cared because he was proving a point. His society did not make him but it certainly ruined him.

Work Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor…

Sources Used in Document:

Work Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books. 1959. Print.

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