Monday, March 7, 2016

Okonkwo the Savage

In class today, I was thinking of Achebe's overall goals of this novel. I know that he is trying to portray the true life of the Ibo people as opposed to their stereotypes. However, I think he goes even deeper with this fictional story. I personally believe that Achebe makes Okonkwo represent more of the savage beast that European society think of when they think of Africa. And the rest of the culture is meant to portray the true representation. Generally, the class agrees that Okonkwo is a horrible person and I think Achebe gives us that hatred for him to show the drastic opposition of the likable characters that are the true representation of Ibo society.


Jaclyn Murphy said...

Daaaang Okonkwo. Still being just as savage as ever. Anyway, I do agree. Good ole O is the exact representation that many Europeans may think consists throughout every tribe, every clan, every country, every part of Africa. However, we see throughout the novel that the different people groups are very diverse. Okonknwo, any way you spin it, is still the outlier. He is quick to anger and quick to react. I personally don't hate him, but he just upsets me the way he acts. If he were not so self centered, and would let himself show a little bit of emotion, the reader would be much more accepting of him.

Antonio Imbornone said...

I wouldn't necessarily say that Okonkwo is a horrible person. I think that his morals were skewed from a young age as he grew up representing everything that his father stood for (including some Ibo values and cultural norms). Achebe includes moments of the story where Okonkwo's judgment is questioned by others in the Ibo community. I believe that Achebe does this to reveal that Ibo people and culture does not blindly follow those who are successful and are actually able to making their own judgments and moral decisions. They will stand up for what they believe in despite what a powerful and highly revered figure has to say about it.

Madison Cummings said...

I can definitely see both sides in this. Okonkwo, on one hand, is aggressive, quick to anger, and judgmental which makes him quite unlikable. He often channels his own anger towards himself onto other people. But, like Antonio says, I think that is just how he was wired to be. He believed that he is behaving correctly, and can't see that he is just being mean. He could think he is helping others by being so hard on them because he is conditioning them to be "tough" like himself. I wouldn't necessarily call him a bad person, because he never does anything with malice. I think he genuinely believes that the best thing for people is tough love.