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The Life of Okonkwo

How would you react if you wanted to stop unwanted visitors from controlling your former people and changing them economically, socially, and politically. Okonkwo who is one of the main characters in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, does not want this cultural conflict to happen to his fellow clan members because it might or might not lead to violence.

Okonkwo’s people who live in the Nigerian town of Umuofia which is one of the main settings for the book were not prepared for this cultural conflict between the very different Western and African cultures. Okonkwo had a very different response to Western civilization taking over Umuofia than the rest of his fellow clan members.

First of all, Okonkwo had a different sense of identity before the cultural collision of Western and African cultures. For example, in Part One we learn that “Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children.

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”(Achebe 13).

This demonstrates how Okonkwo sense identity is different before Western conflict with the African people of Umuofia. An additional example of Okonkwo identity before the cultural collision with the Westerners is when we find out that “[Okonkwo’s] whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness.”(Achebe 13).

That quote is presenting the concept that Okonkwo has lots of fear in his life at the moment, because his father created the failure for him. But, Okonkwo isn’t all cruel and horrible because “He wanted Nwoye to grow into tough young man capable of handling his father’s household when he was dead and gone to join his ancestors.”(Achebe 52).

This quote is displaying the information that, Okonkwo does not want his son Nwoye to be like his Okonkwo’s father who didn’t help him as much; and he wants Nwoye to learn very important skills for later on, so he does not fail as a father like how Okonkwo’s dad did. To summarize this paragraph Okonkwo’s sense of identity did not yet change since this was Part One of Okonkwo’s emotions and how his fears did or didn’t affect him as a person.