Things BREAK APART, Chinua Achebe: LACK OF Identity

Keywords: okonkwo's lack of identity, things fall apart identity

Research Question: how does male dominance, reputation, and responsibility lead to the downfall of Okonkwo's and other character's identification.

My research paper is due to the increased loss of identity of the primary character as well as others. The conflicting battles that they had with themselves and world as a whole.

I consider this is important because in this novel, "Things BREAK APART", there are many conflicts that generally finished in disarray. My gist was that the underlying themes through this novel were mostly responsible for these conflicts and so I took it upon myself to scrutinize the novel and discover for myself.

In doing so, I intensely relied on the book achieved from my senior high school and researched other's perceptions involving this subject. Through writing this paper I have made clear the motifs in this book such as letting electric power control you rather than vice versa and such things were the reason for many character's downfall or go up within the book.

Loss of Personal information in Things Land Apart

From reading the book "Things Fall Apart", you instantly pick up proven fact that the world of the Igbo people is engulfed in ancestral believes and hierarchy. These notions are firmly inserted within the culture that the village's level of resistance to the Western rein by push rumbles disarray in the culture. The reader is reminded of an identical paradigm in the days of Queen Elizabeth the first. From an Igbo's view, you can pronounce that the introduction of the Europeans might have activated the chaos follow-on their meddling with Igbo traditions. The foremost modification of these set in stone conventional civilizations alarmed mainly the customary expert certified to men by their known patriarchal world. Moreover, the people' keenness for male dominance absolutely interrupted various areas of the prevailing ancestral believes and hierarchy, specifically reputation and responsibility that have been deemed manly attributes. A lot more so, these features amount to the main standard for calculating a man's value and specialist/dominance.

The dominance of the male people emerges inherent, within the Igbo patriarchal community where "power is usually cited as the most important factor utilized by men to create their own identities as the 'engendered associates of mankind. ''(OLI) This type of vitality is portrayed at the physical level as well as on a interpersonal and interactive level. On the physical level, people who tend to be lazy are regarded as an agbala, this means a woman in Igbo. This idea is vividly illustrated through Onkonkwo's daddy. Okonkwo himself achieved fame after showing his power when he defeated Amalinze in a wrestling competition. This is the first account we've of Okonkwo's t physical power and ability; Okonkwo asserts assessment to the "coercive physical ability" exercised by the United kingdom colonisers after Umuofia people, and which Okonkwo uses to punish his wives (EP, p. 52).

On the cultural plane, we could launched to a structural supremacy which involves several privileges accorded to the individual by the tribe they belong to. We see this being exemplified through Ogbuefi Ezeudu a character who "have been a great and fearless warrior in his time, and was now accorded a great respect in every the clan. " (TFA, p. 57). The positive men supremacy is the ideology employed in comparison to the coercive physical electricity. These perceptions were worth customary to clans and founded by the elders as an initial basis of their ancestral beliefs and hierarchy in the Umuofia community. Within this book, we take notice of the direct link between male dominance/specialist and reputation. Effectively, the structural supremacy is accorded on the basis of the person's intelligence, and as well as some key points identified by the clan. Reputation however becomes the fulcrum around which most aspects of their ancestral values and hierarchy convert. A reputation being the key target in the organised Umuofia system is stressed upon by simple fact that it is a standout feature of men and women who are capable to accede to the control of the clan. Consequently, these folks (men) show a great sense of responsibility because they don't want to be seen as failures and to encourage values that promise the continuation of the ancestral values and hierarchy in the clan. Similarly any man who fails to attain authority or dominance loses his personality as a genuine member of the tribe.

Consequently, my stress lies in depicting how male dominance, reputation, and responsibility have all directed to the downfall of Okonkwo and other heroes' individuality.

Situated in Igboland approaching the beginning of the twentieth century, Things BREAK APART is embodied via the overlapping of various premises among which one is able to grab male dominance, reputation, responsibility, collisions of cultures, ancestral values and hierarchy. The novel highlights the disarray as well as the incompatible circumstances caused by the starting point of the white Europeans who on the arrival brought with them a fresh religion, new ways of going about life, and a change in paradigm. The start phase of "Things Fall Apart" limns the integrated community of Umuofia Village, using its kingship politics system. The reader also encounters the initial coverage of male ability through the central physique, Okonkwo who is portrayed as a strong fearless warrior whose star position is undeniable across the Igboland,

"Okonkwo was popular throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on sound personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he previously helped bring honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Pet cat. Amalinze was the fantastic wrestler who for seven years was unbeaten, from Umuofia to Mbaino". (TFA, p. 3)

Okonkwo's reputation is given more excess weight by the narrator who strains on the physical bank account that discloses much about his personality and gives the reader insight into the main character and his features:

That was a long time ago, two decades or more, and during this time Okonkwo's fame acquired grown like a bush-fire in the harmattan. He was extra tall and huge, and his bushy eyebrows and huge nose offered him an extremely severe look. He breathed intensely, and it was said that, when he slept, his wives and children in their properties could notice him inhale and exhale. When he strolled, his heels scarcely touched the ground and he seemed to walk on springs, as though he would pounce on someone. And he have pounce on people frequently. He had hook stammer and whenever he was furious and may not get his words out quickly enough; he'd use his fists. He previously no patience with unsuccessful men. He had had no patience with his daddy. (TFA, pg. 3-4)

At this point you may come to the final outcome that Okonkwo is satisfied with his accomplishments considering his expert as a guy and status within the community. In accordance to Ada Uzoamaka Azado: "In the Umuofia community of Things BREAK APART, Igbo men are constrained to accomplish and flaunt [male superiority], in order to be seen and reputed. " (EP, p. 50) (OLI) The Nigerian civilization defined within the novel has been founded by patriarchy which is intern manifested throughout the book. Whatever the concept of Nneka, which in translation means "Mother is Supreme, " which brings to mind the assertion that "the most important factor in regards to to the woman in traditional modern culture is her role as mother", women tend to be measured and represented as property of men: "In home terms, women are reckon as part of a man's acquisitions. Hence, women are regarded in the Umuofia community within the several measures identified to be associated to masculinity. The seclusion of feminine individuals from the interpersonal hierarchy is hammered on by the narrator. "It had been clear from what sort of audience stood or sat that the wedding ceremony was for men. " (TFA, pg. 87). However this circumstances is not typical to Umuofia together. Actuality, in pre-colonial African culture, women were deemed inferior and not at couple with the opposite sex.

It is then unsurprising when the writer controverts Okonkwo's daddy to him. His father Unoka is presented as a slow and irresponsible drunk;

Unoka, with the was his father's name, experienced died ten years in the past. In his day he was a sluggish and improvident and was quite not capable of thinking about tomorrow. If hardly any money came up his way, and it seldom does, he immediately bought gourds of palm-wine, called round his neighbours and made merry. He always said that whenever he observed a useless man's mouth area he observed the folly of not wanting to eat what one had in one's life time. Unoka was, of course, a debtor, and he owed every neighbor some cash, from a few cowries to quite considerable portions. (TFA, pg. 4)

His father's irresponsibility is portrayed through his failing to control money properly. His main aim is to drink palm wine and make merry with his friends. He is discussed as a failure, an agbala. He endured mockery because he did not surpass the standards establish for men in the community;

Unoka, the grown-up, was a failure. He was poor and his wife and children got barely enough to eat. People laughed at him because he was a loafer, plus they swore never to lend him any longer money because he never paid back. // Unoka was never happy when it arrived to wars. He was in fact a coward and could not endure the view of blood. And so he changed the subject and discussed music, and his face beamed. (TFA, pp. 5-6)

The subdued image of Unoka is in no way unintentional. Achebe uses this as a medium to stand for male dominance in the Igbo population as well concerning depict the belief against men who do not succeed. Therefore, one comes to the realisation that male dominance within the novel is strongly associated with the individual's own pursuit for identity. This elucidates the motive behind the key character's unending attempts to attain ability which is threatened in book from time to time. Simply, Okonkwo aspires to characterize himself in the sense of creating a graphic that regarded as the real man with all authority approved to him in this patriarchal community

Okonkwo looks, first, as a successful man who have achieved the self-fulfilment he tries to consider. As Ifeoma Onyemelukwe says:

[Okonkwo] is the person who was in a position to resolve his id crisis in overdue adolescence. At era 18 he had developed self-confidence, a high self-concept, and self-esteem and had high achievement determination as typical of the common Igbo man. The result of this is his reverberating accomplishment and superstar. (EP, p. 37)

Okonkwo's bodily power in combination with the man's keenness to realize communal climax moulded a very commanding persona which is fit for such a patriarchal community. The ideology of the male character as an important and commanding person is eventually toughened by the image of the agbala which generally alludes to fruitless or slow men. Onyemelukwe remarks:

Things Fall Apart depicts very successful Okonkwo as exhibiting no empathy or sympathy to less fortunate men like his dad, Unoka. Such individuals, to his mind, are simply just agbala (Igbo phrase for girl) or she-men.

It is not surprising that Okonkwo sticks out in the novel as a macho man with significant amounts of self-esteem and self-confidence.

The cap matches Okonkwo in many instances in the given explanation. Achebe portrays him as you who's neither patient nor tolerant. (EP, pp. 37-38)

Okonkwo's authority is because of this of his will to attain success. That is evidently highlighted within the book:

But the Ibo folks have a proverb that when a man says yes his chi says yes also. Okonkwo said yes very firmly; so his chi agreed. And not only his chi but his clan too, because it judged a guy by the work of his hands. That was why Okonkwo have been chosen by the nine villages to carry a message of war to their opponents unless they agreed to give up a female and a virgin to atone for the murder of Udo's wife. (TFA, pg. 27)

Achebe allows the speaker to broaden the confines of Okonkwo's expert, evoking what his own daddy cannot achieve: accomplishing himself as a man and building up his reputation. However, Okonkwo was unsuccessful in effectively conveying the expert he possessed. One might argue that the energy controlled his actions and in the end the explanation behind his failure may be to shed light on the imperfections of the hero blinded by his reputation of and his border to climb up on the interpersonal ladder.

Okonkwo's reputation drops suddenly following his unintentional murder of a young boy. He is no longer regarded as the physique of authority, fame and masculinity wish bullet from his gun inadvertently killed a boy. Furthermore, the regulations customary to the Igbo community calls for that any being found guilty of taking another's life must be banished to his / her motherland. This as opposed to Okonkwo's macho personality highlights the shame that adorn him.

"Overnight, great Okonkwo, the great warrior, the fantastic warrior, the great wrestler, one of the very most outstanding achievers of his time, most respected and revered, manages to lose all he has laboured to accomplish just in the twinkle of the eye. His trust or staying "one of the lords of the clan, " is shattered.

His air travel to Mbanta implies starting life afresh, from the damage. It means lack of self-esteem, peace, delight. His ego is obviously punctured. His fame changes into shame. His id crumbles. Crises and turmoil set in again". (EP, pp. 41-42)

It is visible that the situation Okonkwo locates himself in is a paradoxical one because, in spite of the patriarchal pattern, he is still banished to his mother's community. This incident can be seen as a device Achebe utilizes to reconstruct the image of women. In this regard the author celebrates the 'Mom as a Supreme Being', a concept which is repeated in Achebe's writings.

Noticeably, Okonkwo's go back to his motherland plays an important role as it secures him from European influences. At this time, Okonkwo becomes totally aware of his of himself in exile. The identity alteration is first noticed by his mother's sibling who pertinently responses.

"How come Okonkwo around today? This isn't his clan. We are just his mother's kinsmen. He will not belong here. He's an exile, condemned for seven years to live in a weird land. And so he's bowed with grief. But there is just one question I would like to ask him. Is it possible to tell me, Okonkwo, why it is the fact one of the most typical titles we give our children is Nneka, or "Mother is Supreme?" We all know a man is the head of the family and his wives do his bidding. A kid belongs to its daddy and his family and not to its mom and her family. A man belongs to his fatherland and not to his motherland". (TFA, pg. 133)

The speaker features Okonkwo's responsiveness to his lack of identity. "[He] knew these exact things. He recognized that he had lost his place one of the nine masked spirits who implemented justice in the clan. " (TFA, p. 171) However, his come back in the subsequent lines stress upon his reputation and responsibility:

He was established that his come back should be designated by his people. He would give back with a flourish, and regain the seven misused years. // Even in his first calendar year in exile he previously begun to plan his return. (TFA, pp. 171)

One might ask yourself if the changes that contain took place in his society allows him to achieve his reintegration without troubles. However taking into account Okonkwo we understood at the early levels of the novel, you'll come to think that his return would once again rekindle the ancestral values and hierarchy within the town of Umuofia. Nonetheless the overlapping of models like reputation, male dominance, and responsibility are such that they create in a typical focus characterised by violent behavior as well as the downfall of Okonkwo's fame and persona

Revisiting Okonkwo's reassimilation within his world, he is put in the skeleton of the above mentioned body depicting that his final condition is by no means perchance. Effectively, Okonkwo composes a mixture of male dominance, reputation, and responsibility. Okonkwo's petulance and zeal to succeed demonstrates the essential characteristics of his character. Hence, the violent condition that has propelled Okonkwo into an unavoidable downfall is a produce of the overlapping of male dominance, reputation and responsibility.

The society of Umuofia is organized such that man must climb through to the interpersonal ladder if he would like to gain esteem in the community. The other aspect of the coin is set apart for ladies, or in this case, men incapable of achieving masculinity. In place, the permutation female honour / electricity do not lead to a drop because a female moving upward on the social ladder is tantamount to re-examination. It's an amelioration of their rank and can't be seen as a downfall. This is also noticeable in Achebe's works; "A GUY of the People" and the "Devil on the Mix" when Eunice and Warrnga respectively, clear themselves with their male tyrannisers. They found their identity and repositioned themselves at superiors on the cultural ladder and hierarchy. In result, Okonkwo who is unable to find some of his previous qualities is, inevitably excluded from his list on the public hierarchy. No longer is he perceived as a job model that he was and, because of this, declines on the hierarchy only an agbala, like his daddy. Okonkwo's shift on the interpersonal hierarchy is negative. The one factor resultant from the overlapping talked about themes is violence. Eunice uses this as a tool however; this isn't the same in Okonkwo's situation. In the beginning, violence is implemented at the personal level to liberate themselves from the Europeans, whiles the second instance has an effect on the entire community of Umuofia. Furthermore, because the violence in the case of Okonkwo is not tied to one person, the reparation thereafter is irrepressible and, 'things show up aside'.

To reveal Okonkwo's inability, Achebe distances the key character from the various revolutions occurring and impacting on the people of Umuofia. The author shows a substantial role along to his banishment and uses that as a tool to segregate Okonkwo from the happening changes. The altercation is forget about among Okonkwo and his community, but his cultural beliefs and the Western european imposed culture. In point of fact, the Europeans having achieved their attempts in convincing the Igbo people, Okonkwo is still left standing alone defending the traditions of Umuofia. His achievements and disappointments break on his capability to formulate a suitable decision of the three rules that constitute to his personality: reputation, male dominance, and responsibility

Okonkwo inhabits a culture where male dominance is the center point of traditional values. The patriarchy that he and many others have emulated from ancestral customs vitalizes him to look at a mind-set of superiority over the contrary intimacy by abusing his wives. Okonkwo rose to fame as soon as age eighteen and since that time has been most definitely blinded by popularity. Because of this, his primary goal is to remain at the maximum of his ability. Okonkwo then shifts from a well-liked hero to a villain. This move in Okonkwo's persona demonstrates violence as a predestined final result of the transformations which affected Okonkwo's community. For Okonkwo and many others like himself, really the only respond is through violence.

Achebe exemplifies Okonkwo's calamity as a character falling victim to social violence on the one hand, but also of himself on the other. The first of the assault is one brought upon the Community of Umuofia by Western european colonisers. This assault was physically imposed and it goes up against the two different standards of living and their ethnicities. The second is violence enforced by practices on the individuals. For instance; Okonkwo acts seven years banishment for having wiped out a Klansman; the intentionally eradicating of twin children to avoid a curse that may strike the community; also Ikemefuna as young as she actually is sacrificed to Ani (the Earth goddess, ) to provide justice following the death of a member of the neighbouring community.

Also the average person violence Okonkwo computes by himself personality. We first monitor this particular type of conflict mentally. This is where he firmly presumed in recapturing his lost personality and achieve his cause, he ends up as the physical sufferer of his own assault choosing to hang himself somewhat than get caught in captivity. However, in doing this, he sheds off his reputation.

It is evident that the previous few sections of Things Fall Apart show you an Okonkwo that has come to terms with his failure, and tries to evoke his identity. Okonkwo now could be not the same

Okonkwo who "said yes highly; so his chi agreed" (TFA, pg. 27). Unfortunately for Okonkwo, he came to realisation a little late and his strive to keep the little honour he had end up being futile. Consequentially, committing suicide is gaze at as a taboo: "It really is an abomination for a guy for taking his own life. It is an offence against the planet earth, and a guy who commits you won't be buried by his clansmen. " (TFA, pg. 207). He is forsaken even in death just because his ordeal was against [their] custom. " (TFA, pg. 207). However, the audio speakers convey some compassion through Obierika:

Obierika, who had been gazing progressively at his friend's body, converted all of a sudden to the Area Commissioner and said ferociously: "That man was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. You drove him to wipe out himself; and today he will be buried like a dog" He could not say any longer. His voice trembled and choked his words. (TFA, pg. 208)

The narrator features the blame of Okonkwo's death to the Area Commissioner's men. And at this time Achebe condemns the negative and brutal aspects of the appearance of the colonisers in Africa on the whole and the Igboland in particular. Things Fall Apart can be regarded as a book that Achebe uses to epitomise the irrationality of certain traditions which in the end have overwhelming effects on the average person and the whole contemporary society. Hence I conclude with this famous price by W. B Yeats,

"Making and submiting the widening gyre

The falcon cannot listen to the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the entire world.

Word count: 3, 582

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