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Analysis of Characters in "Things Fall Apart"

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Okonkwo had risen so suddenly from great poverty and misfortune to be one of the lords of the clan, he was respected in his industry but Okonkwo’s brusqueness in dealing with less successful men was a striking flaw in him. He expects everyone to be as successful as him or even more than him, but he just couldn’t stand the spite of unsuccessful people, by unsuccessful his standards are too high like he sets for himself that he sets for others too. He hates when people contradict his opinions but to oppose or defend them he knew how to kill one’s spirit and slam them down harshly. This attitude of his is clearly portrayed in the starting of Ch. 3 where a kindred meeting was held to discuss the ancestral fest.

When a man named Osugo stood up to voice his opinions that might have contradicted Okonkwo’s, Okonkwo said “This meeting is for men” and it was a savage response to point out that he was a failure and had no right to speak, since that man had no titles and Okonkwo indicated him therefore to be a woman. The men refuted and took sides with Osugo and an ndichie even said sternly “those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent sprit should not forget to be humble.” This just means a man whose lucky to be granted opportunities by the gods should be thankful and not bombastic about his status in society. Some might not have gotten the fruits of life like luck to stand by them and being offered opportunities to succeed. However gods have offered Okonkwo with certain rewards in life, which can be referred as, “cracked some palm kernels for him.” He prompts Okonkwo to remain humble and pay gratitude for the things granted to him and not take advantage of misusing the power of authority, respect and honor he has.

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He advises Okonkwo to be empathetic to difficult circumstances of others, especially to those from a lower social ranking (in terms of title system) who wasn’t bestowed a successful path by gods yet. Hence the elders reprimand him of his arrogant and gloating attitude, then insisted/demanded him to apologize. Although this indicated to be a flaw in Okonkwo of boasting himself, on the bright side this was his greater merits because, the old mans words weren’t true exactly. “A benevolent spirit hadn’t cracked Okonkwo’s palm-kernels for him”. He had cracked them himself, he had few helpers along the way who were respected and at higher status (his father’s friend, Nwakibie etc) but despite all Okonkwo had to solely fight hard for his place in society and earn his accomplishments. Anyone who knew his grim struggle against poverty and misfortune couldn’t say he had been lucky. Okonkwo deserved success, at an early age he had achieved fame as the greatest wrestler in all the land.

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