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Why is Okonkwo Not a Hero? (Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart)

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. In the story I think that Okonkwo is a hero because he killed himself, but even then no matter how hard things get I don’t think that it can’t be enough to kill one’s life. Who are we to decide that it is our time to live or die? It was not our decision to be born so it is not our decision to die. Every hero has something or someone to fight for. Okonkwo was fighting for respect, the people and his family. As Human beings we all have something to fight for because of the love we have for people of things. Every human being is capable of love and as long as love exists there will also be hate. Sometimes even the bad things help us learn a lesson. If we could be able to redo every mistake that we did we would not learn anything about life.

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One of the things which Okonkwo really wanted was the respect from the people and He was a wrestler so he pretty much had it. When he killed the kid from the neighboring clan, it was because he didn’t want the people to think that he was weak and did not deserve respect. Okonkwo liked ikemefuna but still it did not stop him from killing him. He was serious when it comes to respect but it is not worth killing someone. I don’t think it is the right thing to do because it is better to live a life of happiness than regretting killing a person for the gain of respect. We see later in the book that he could not eat for two day after killing someone he got along with but no matter how much he was stressed it would not bring ikemefuna back to life. Since then things started to fall apart for Okonkwo because he would not have gotten banned for 7 years if he didn’t kill ikemefuna and getting banned also degraded the respect he worked hard to earn.

In the story we see that the people had different cultures and believes but the colonists came and tried to change the beliefs of the native people. In this world we tend to think that we are the only ones who are right and it is hard for us to have complete empathy for someone. I think that we would live better if we had empathy for one another because if the clans had empathy, instead of fighting against each other they would have fought for what they believed in. At that time of the colonists every country in Africa was being colonized by European countries the countries which were not colonized by colonists were Ethiopia and Liberia. I think that Okonkwo did the worst decision when he killed himself because he was the person who would not let his culture get stolen. When he was banned the people of umuofia were doubting their culture.

When the going gets hard in life if we have a family then we have people to turn to. As a child I would know that my parents are going to be there for me in every step of my way. I have noticed that because of my brother I used to get credit sometimes due to my brother in my former school. I liked being the brother of a famous student in class because of the respect I get from people. In the book we see a different thing because Okonkwo liked his daughter more than his son. Okonkwo’s wives listened to him but he never even said please to them and respected them as much as they respected him. The time we see the evil in people is when they are given power and in this case Okonkwo had power in the family so he did not care to treat his wives with respect.

In conclusion Okonkwo was not a hero because he would have fought for what he believed in which was his culture and believes. I would say that he died a meaningless death. In the end the main thing which matters is the choices that we make in our lives. If Okonkwo decided not to kill the kid from the neighbouring clan, he might not have to end up killing himself. If he was my hero he would have never given up even though his entire clan betrayed him and instead of committing suicide he would sacrifice himself for the cultures and beliefs of the clan. I have learnt that choices that we make in our lives are essential to how we live our life.

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