How Does Achebe Make Okonkwo Such A Striking Central Character In The Novel? Support Your Answer With Close Reference To The Whole Novel

583 words - 3 pages

How does Achebe make Okonkwo such a striking central character in the novel? Support your answer with close reference to the whole novel.Achebe made Okonkwo into a striking character by presenting him as a very complex person who is driven by his emotions and at the same time suppressing them. Out of this suppression comes his anger for his father which he channels to the people closest to him and to events that happened around him. Yet he is not aware of what is happening to him and place the blame for his problems on others, never on himself.Okonkwo is introduced immediately in the first chapter as 'well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond' and that 'at the age of eighteen he had brought ...view middle of the document...

He is a staunch believer in the Ibo tradition and demonstrates total loyalty to his traditions. He does not believe in compromise and will not hesitate to enforce the Ibo laws using force if needed. He rather sacrifice his loved ones than turn a blind eye to their mistakes. Yet, it is interesting to note that, he himself did not follow the Ibo principles completely either. Until his death, he did not believe in the feminine principle which promotes compassion, understanding and love. In fact he resisted all feelings which he calls feminine because they are weak in nature. He has associated such feelings with his father whom he regarded as a failure and an embarrassment. By having such feelings, though improve his relationship with others, would remind him of his father. He rather not have them. Okonkwo is also a striking character because he has many contrasts. Although he is hot-tempered and easily angry, he also yearns for closeness. He is capable of feeling great attachment with his daughter, Enzima. The way he attended to her when she was sick tells you that Okonkwo loves her. Okonkwo is striking because he stands out among the rest of his clansmen not so much for his physical strength and wealth but more so for his strong opinions regarding the white man. Okonkwo proposed war to drive the whites out of the village which suggests a lot o bloodshed will be involved. There was also the possibility the whites will overpower them because of their superior weapons. To him a battle is the only way to solve the problem of the whites destroying their culture. He does not practice tolerance, compromise or even tries to understand others' viewpoints.

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