Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I get the feeling that Okonkwo is kind of the architypical Igbo man. I think he represents the old Africa: the break down of his culture finally causes his tragedy. This story reminds me a lot of a book by Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury, which is the bomb (I had to read it for summer reading one year.) Anyway that book is about the fall of the Old South and it's characters tragedies come from their inablity to accept the destruction of their family's old way of life. It's about three brothers who in one way or another are wounded by their love for/dependence on their sister who comes to be considered a fallen woman by the old standards. One character, my favorite, Quintan (sp?) fianlly cannot accept the fall of his family/way of life... poor kid ends up drown. Anyway besides both stories being about the fall of the old way and emergence of the new, besides the inclusions of two characters who represent all or a part of the old way who's tragedies are similar, both stories are also about very human families. Achebe and Faulkner are awesome writers and in both stories the characters humaness comes out subtaly. Also they handel their subject in a very nonjugmental way, the present the old ways as they were, good and bad parts included, as well as their enevitable distruction. One of the things that I think makes their work so powerful is the humanity of the characters: I find Okonkwo very relatable, that relatibility makes the tragedy that much more powerful. Okonkwo is a man with fears and ambitons and character quirks, he is a man. I'm a navy brat, Okonkwo is a soldier and he acts like one; Okonkwo is a Igbo warrior but he's also someone you might meet on the street anywhere. Relatiblity makes a character sympathetic I think. This is the story of imperilism but it is also the story of Okonkwo the warrior, the tragic hero, the hardworking, imperfect man.