Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Okonkwo's Approach to Community

Okonkwo is not really a fan of the community gatherings that his Igbo tribe has from time to time, unless they are to discuss war or something else that he feels is "manly". For example, during the Week of Peace, he did not want to go see the festivals and wrestling because it involved the tasks of to many women and it was something, at least in his opinion, that a woman would do. He doesn’t like festival gatherings because they themselves are to female. He’s more like an individual in this sense and really only likes the manly wrestling that occurs. In regard to community, he desires to be a community leader, but he’s not really a good candidate for a “community leader”. Psychologically he is much more self-motivated and self-interested and relies on the belief that he is sole reason for his success. He does not give any credit to the supportive atmosphere that his clansmen and family have provided as some of the keys to his prosperity.

6 comments:

Austin Falk said...

This is an interesting point. It almost seems to be justice that Okonkwo is the one that ends up getting exhiled from his village. He separates himself so much from the others and seems to have a problem with anything that has to do with spending time with the community. His strictness gets him in trouble.

Madeline Davis said...

I agree completely. I found it very ironic that Okonkwo is so interested in being the highest community leader while he is almost entirely motivated by self-interest. I also found it ironic that men are considered to be of high stature by buying themselves titles. I would have thought that because the focus seems to be on the importance of community, men would obtain high high titles through good deeds and support of the community.

Laura N said...

Okonkwo brings a whole new meaning to a one man wolf-pack (Hangover reference, anyone?) He likes to think that he is in control or at least has some influence over others when in reality, no one really listens to him because they are not so prone to violence. His underlying motivations for being a community leader probably harkens back to his shameful father’s incompetency, so in order to distance himself from his father he must accomplish more than him and be an alpha male in his family and in social settings. He over compensates by being extremely aggressive and trying to have others bend to his will, such as his wives and the community leaders when he wants to start an uprising. His hyper-aggressiveness sets him apart from the community. The community has changed from their old warlike ways to a more passive state and he has not and cannot make that transition.

TSHAH said...

Personally when I work on things such as group projects, I prefer to take up the bulk of the work so I know that the quality and the method that there work is being done is up to my standards. Similarly, I think taht Okonkwo does not necessarily reject the Ibo group gatherings, but rather it is a control issue for him where he believes the society is less productive when they come together to solve problems rather than taking direct action to get the results that they want. Okonkwo want to take action as a individual so he can accomplish what he wants and how he wants in a more productive matter.

Michell D said...

I think that Okonkwo actually enjoyed all of the community gatherings, however he would not be willing to show that he was enjoying it if it was not masculine. He put up a front to say he hated them because they were feminine, and chose some to be perceived as masculine in his mind so that it would be socially acceptable. It's just another example of how self centered he is because he is more worried about how he appears to others than actually doing what he wants to do. His lack of support can also point to his selfishness because it would be weak in his eyes to submit himself to someone else. And as far as the week of peace goes, deep down he respects the traditions, but according to him it might as well be the weak of peace, amirite?

wkuehne said...

The split that you describe between women and men, Ian, is also present in Beloved. Besides the structure of a plantations workforce, women and men seem to have assigned roles. Women tend to work, raise kids (if they are allowed), cook, and are expected to have lots of sex which often leads to outright rape. Men, in contrast, have it off a little easier it seems. They work, but they don't have to have kids and work (which must be excruciating at times), they don't get raped, and because they work less they have more free time (other than Halle).