Throughout the whole story, Okonkwos life was dominated by the fear of failure and of weakness (Achebe, 13). He tried so hard to become better than his father and raise his standings in the village. Spending his whole life doing this, Okonkwo could not let change occur because change meant things would no longer be the same, and all his respect he gained in his village would go to waste.
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So when the white men came and started disrupting the order, this affected him greatly. In Chinua Achebes Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo fights to preserve order and justice for him and his clan, but ultimately fails due to his own lack of understanding of what justice truly is.
Through his violent actions and constant self-doubt, Okonkwo demonstrated he had a misunderstanding about what tribal justice really is. “Does the white man understand our custom about land? How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad (Achebe, 176) Through these words spoken by Okonkwo, he displayed his own hypocrisy of tribal justice. It was Okonkwo who beat his wife during the ceremonial week of peace, and yet he blames the white men for disrespecting their customs.
He again shows this when he commits suicide, defying the law set by his tribe, “It is an abomination for a man to take his own life. It is an offence against the Earth, and a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen. His body is evil (Achebe, 208) Fully knowing his people was falling to the white men, he felt his only option was was to leave looking like a coward rather than weak.
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