A Powerful Motivator

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In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, it follows the Umuofian tribesman Okonkwo. Okonkwo was a man who thought highly of pride and was a significant man in the tribe. The tribe of Umuofia saw Okonkwo as a man with a bad temper.

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Okonkwo had a quick hand towards his wives and children. He was especially stern with his son, Nwoye, who seemed to be too feminine at his age. Okonkwo took pride in his large farm and many wives. But he didn’t get his riches handed to him. Okonkwo earned his titles at a young age by working hard on his farm and proving his strength to the elders of the village by wrestling.

A powerful motivator in his life was his father, Unoka, who did nothing but bring shame to himself and his son’s life. Unoka was a poor father, a pitiful fighter, and a liar. As a young boy, Okonkwo saw first-hand how much of a failure his father was. He promised to himself that he would be a very hard worker and not have the same fate as Unoka. Before any task or decision, Okonkwo asked himself, “What would my father do? Because I must do the opposite.” Before judging the character of Okonkwo, a reader must look at the psychological consequences that Okonkwo endured during his childhood.

The wretchedness of his father was engraved into his mind and he did not want to have any resemblance to him. Unoka’s deceiving and swindling ways had impacted Okonkwo’s life to the point where he feared of failure and assured that none of his kin will inherit any of the attributes that his father held. Okonkwo feared of the defeat and dishonor that his father endured. Although Unoka was a good musician and participated in fellowship, he lacked ambition He was, “indeed possessed by the fear of his father’s contemptible life and shameful death. To not end up like his father, Okonkwo worked very hard on his yam farm and did not become lazy and deceitful like his father. Unoka’s lack of care of Okonkwo as a child had an effect on how he treated others, especially his own wives and children. Okonkwo could be described as an impulsive, reckless man due to the actions he resorted to throughout the book.

One account is when Okonkwo heavily beat his wife for not cooking for the children. Okonkwo was so overwhelmed with anger that he forgot it was the week of peace(25). The relation Okonkwo had with his mother increased the tension between him and his father, as well as anyone close to him. The mere non-existent relationship with his mother caused Okonkwo to have difficulty expressing his distant feelings for others including his wives and only son, Nwoye. Ruling his home with a “heavy hand”(19),

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