Things Fall Apart Essay

1199 Words 5 Pages
In life people are very rarely, if ever, purely good or evil. In novels authors tend not to create characters with an obvious moral standing not only to make their novel more applicable to the reader, but also to make the characters more complex and dynamic. Chinua Achebe uses this technique to develop the characters in his novel, Things Fall Apart. The main character, and protagonist in the novel, Okonkwo, is very morally dynamic showing some sensitivity to his family and friends, but in an attempting to rebel against his father, Okonkwo also exhibits the tendency to lash out violently. Okonkwo's moral ambiguity is not simply inherent in his character, but is developed by the situation he was presented with in life. Okonkwo's father …show more content…
One of the first examples of Okonkwo's violence was during the village's sacred week of peace, when he severely beat his wife for arriving home late. Although a man beating his wife was common practice in Okonkwo's village, it was extremely forbidden for a man to beat his wife during this sacred week. Even though Okonkwo's neighbors were extremely upset with his actions, Okonkwo remained indignant. The book described his attitude saying, "But he was not the man to go about telling his neighbors that he was in error. And so people said he had no respect for the gods of the clan. His enemies said that his good fortune had gone to his head." As if Okonkwo's blatant sexism was not apparent, Okonkwo goes on to say to himself, "No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children he was not really a man." Despite the fact that Okonkwo beat his wife Ekwefi, it is clear that he still loves her. Later in the book Ekwefi's only daughter Ezinma is taken by the town priestess, Okonkwo then takes it upon himself to follow his wife and daughter to make sure they are safe. Okonkwo also expresses his love for his daughters Ezinma throughout the book in his own way saying, "I wish she were a son." Although at a surface level Okonkwo seems to have a disregard for his family, Okonkwo is battling between his emotions, and his want to be unlike his father. Okonkwo's moral standing once again comes into question through his relationship with

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