Monday, September 17, 2007

Okonkwo is . . .

As we read and analyze Achebe's vibrant work, we need to look closely at the main character, Okonkwo, and start to understand him and talk about him as a complex and sometimes contradictory individual. For this posting, I'd like you to write a short paragraph (6-8 sentences) describing Okonkwo's emotional and physical strengths and weaknesses. Use evidence from the text to support your response! Due Thursday, September 20, at the start of class.

13 comments:

Kyle Yeung said...

Okonkwo is a very strong man. Whether it is at the inside or outside, he is equally strong. One of the reasons that he is strong is because he is a worrior. Being "tall and huge" (Achebe 3)gives him a a chance of being a successful warrior. Moreover, he is also mentally strong. He is the power to start a farm by himself. He worked hard for the farm and should thank for his dad. His dad gave him a great deal of power to start a farm. If it was not his dad, there is a possibility that Okonkwo will not be able to start a farm.

Michelle said...

Okonkwo is strong in many physical and emotional ways but sometimes he is not as rock solid as he appears to be. When Ikemefuna is brought into Okonkwo’s life, Okonkwo starts to treat Ikemefuna as his own son, because he likes Ikemefuna. Okonkwo is fond of some of his children but he never shows gentleness. He never shows emotion except for anger. An example of this would be on page 44, when Okonkwo yells at Enzinma but the book reveals that Okonkwo was fond of Enzinma. “Okonkwo was specially fond of Ezinma. She looked very much like her mother, who was the once the village beauty. But his fondness only showed on very rare occasions.” The reason why Okonkwo is such a strong person is because of his resentment towards his father, Unoka. In a way, Unoka gave him strength and the will to be the exact opposite of his father. On page 13, Okonkwo’s passion in life is revealed, “And so Okonkwo was ruled by one passion—to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness.” Okonkwo’s strength comes from his hate for his father.

trevor p said...

Okonkwo often leans on his power, strength, and anger. When he is showing just the slightest bit of emotion he feels that he must prove his strength. Okonkwo was walking around his compound when he stopped at a tree and with anger said, "Who killed this tree, or are you all deaf and dumb?" The tree was alive, and his second wife said she cut some leaves off to wrap food. He severly beat her for something so minimal, as if only to get his fix of anger and strength. Okonkwo is a strong hardworking man besides his flaws and would like nothing more than to support his family. Okonwko has love inwardly for his family but will never show it. Though he might not have looked like it, but killing Ikemefuna broke his heart. Even though he yells and beats his son, he is really trying to set him up with a wonderful life that he did not begin with at his age. Okonkwo needs to learn his balance with his power and strength with his love.

josh said...

Okonkwo is a fierce,vigorous, stubborn guy who strives for prosperity and reputation. As a lad Okonkwo grew up with a father who was an agbala(woman or man who has taken no title) that was disregarded throughout the village of Umuofia. Once Okoknwo came of age he had hatred to all aspects of his father and strived forth with his life to go against everything that his father had done and enjoyed. As well Okonkwo wanted to be highly regarded in Umuofia by the people of the village. The people valued manliness in men so that was his main quality that he needed to show. When Okonkwo turned 18 he wanted to prove his manliness by fighting the most vicious wrestler of the area named Amalinze the Cat. Amalinze had never been beaten until Okonkwo came up to him and threw him down like it was no big deal. This made him gain fame and prosperity greatly. Okonkwo's father, Unoka, could not farm if his life depended on it. This was one thing that Okonkwo had to master and with time was able to be a well excepted farmer throughout the land. Emotionally Okonkwo is very strong because to show emotion as a man in his tribe was disregarded. When Ikemefuna was about to be killed and cried for help Okonkwo didn't show any emotion to help and killed his "son" of 3 years without showing emotion. He did this solely because he would not want to have been thought of as weak. Okonkwo is a fierce, vigorous, stubborn guy who earns prosperity and reputation.

Mariah said...

As we have read so far, we learned that Okonkwo has many strengths and weaknesses. He is strong and vigourous physically and mentally, but when it come to being emotionally stong,is where Okonkwo is flawed. Okonkwo had phiscial strength by being a strong wrestler and the mental strength to tell him to do better and never give up like his father did. He does not have emotional strength due to the realtionship with his father. He bottles up the anger towards his father and takes it out on family and friends who mean a lot to him. This is not good for Okonkwo because it is ruining the close relationships he has

conor said...

One of Okonkwo's biggests strengths is that he is a big man. As it says in the first chapter,"He was tall and huge, and his bushy eyebrows and wide nose gave him a very severe look."(Achebe.TFA.pg.4-5). This, and the fact that he threw the Cat, are ways to show how strong of a man Okonkwo is. He does have some mental weaknesses. The waythat he beats his wife and children, shows his sign of mental weakness. As Achebe says in chapter 2, ",and so he sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating."(Achebe.TFA.pg.13-14)Okonkwo beat his son, Nwoye, because he saw his fathers laziness in him. Okonkwo needs to become more mentally strong to not beat his wife and children.

Sina K. said...

On the one hand Okwonko is a very strong and successfull man. He is well known throughout the nine villages and beyond, that’s why his fame rests on solid personal achievements (p.3). He is even a bit proud of himself.
On the other hand he never shows his real emotions in public. Some might think, that deep inside his heart he is not a cruel man.
Therefore his whole life is clouded by fear of failure and weaknesses (p.13).
He doesn’t want, that his family and he become like his father one day. There is no way for him to be soft. He always acts themed by “all or nothing”. Okonkwo is also afraid of failing alone (p.25) and he’s always worried about what people think of him.

Sam H. said...

Okonkwo is a diligent man who spends most of his time on his farms. His childhood was tough, and his father is spending most of his time drinking when he could be working on his farm. Since then, Okonkwo started to hate his father and his actions, and he promised himself not to do anything that is like him. He has been living like as a tough man who shows no emotions to everyone, even the loved ones. Once, there is an old man who said, “Looking at a king’s mouth, one would think he never sucked at his mother’s breast” (pp.26). This quote is use to describe Okonkwo, who rise up from the bottom to the top of the society, and he worked alone. Okonkwo started working in a small farm in the beginning, and he had been through the worst harvest year with drought and heavy rain. However, he lived through it and that’s why he has the respect from villages.

Yizhuo Nie said...

Okonkwo is a vigorous man who always tries to show the society that he is strong and he is totally different from his weak father. The good thing about his vigorousness is that he works hard. Therefore, his family always has a great harvest. He is strong that he even throws the Cat down in the wrestling game. "Okonkwo is well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond."(1)He is famous and respected. The things above are the positive sides of his vigorousness. The negative side is that he cares too much about how other people sees him. He rarely shows his emotion to his family members and he cannot control his emotion well. "Unfortunately, Okonkwo heard it and ran...his wifes and children."(39)What makes a man to raise his gun and aim at his own wife? It is because Okonkwo always goes too far with his vigorousness. He wants to look strong everytime even in the wrong way.

Jennifer Chung said...

Okonkwo was a strong man in many ways. He was a great wrestler, and “he was a wealthy farmer and had two barns full of yams, and had just married his third wife.” (8) He had earned two titles, which were considered as great honor. However, he was not good at controlling his anger; he was impatient. “Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger.” (28) He shot at his wife because he thought she killed a tree that she didn’t kill. Also, he always had fear of weakness in his mind. He doesn’t want to be like his father, Unoka, who Okonkwo considered weak. He was very concerned about his reputation.

Louisa C. said...

Okonkwo is very contradictory in the sense that he goes against his own chi or what he knows is correct. In his culture they believe that every person has there own god or some part of them that tells them what is right or wrong. Over the course of the first few chapters Okonkwo is contradictory in many senses. He says that he would do anything to have good crops but then during peace week he hits his wife and beats. In doing this he puts shame and bad crops on his entire town. Another time he shoots at another wife however this is not during peace week but in his culture it is still a sin to harm a woman. He being a honored person in his village and he holds several titles. A man of this status must be a person for the public to look up to ,and when he goes against this chi he is going against hi culture.

Brandon Casellas said...

Okonkwo is strong physically , and emotionally. But he does have his weaknesses. Apart from hating his father, because he hates his father so much he becomes the exact opposite of him. He shows no emotion at all, and always treats his wives and children very harshly. He constantly beats them. He also finds ways to beat his wives when his anger is fueling him like when he was walking around his compound, found a Dead Banana Tree, and asked "How killed this Banana plant.?" and then after one of his wives spoke up he beat her. Because of the constant hate for his father, thats why Okonkwo is strong.

Benjamin Salas said...

In Achebe’s novel Thing Fall Apart, the main character, Okonkwo, is very concerned about how he is perceived by other people. Okonkwo is a middle aged man that after suffering from the failures of his father is able to succeed. But the main character of the novel is too afraid to fail as his father did; as a result, he tries very hard to make a good impression. He becomes a very strong man to prove to the town that he is full of emotional and physical strength, possessing characteristics that his father lacked. To impress the villagers, he often demonstrates his strength in such a way that both leads to material success but also causes emotional failure. For example, Okonkwo is mentioned as the most successful farmer in the town and the best fighter. But inside his obi, the reader can notice the lack of communication within his family, which will lead to aggressive events. We can see that the strength that Okonkwo has is most of the times due to the necessity of showing others this characteristics. As the novel continues, the author will show how the excess of this strength will lead to many unpleasant situations for the main character.