Friday, February 17, 2017

Achebe's intentions

Okonkwo's personality traits provide an almost counter-intuitive view to what we believe are Achebe's intentions in Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo is somewhat of a bad role model if Achebe tries to paint his people as civilized contrary to what the Europeans have written about them. Instead, the character of Okonkwo is used to prove that some people are traditional and brutal somewhat like the stereotype, but most of the natives disapprove with his actions. Therefore, the interactions between Okonkwo and his peers are most important. If Achebe writes in English with the purpose of tailoring to both European audiences and also the young in his country, then the inclusion of flaws in his society not only makes his account seem more realistic, but could be a way that he can improve the future by influencing the young readers of his country.

5 comments:

Dylan Bryan said...

Joseph makes a good point in saying that though Okonkwo, the protagonist, may appear as a "savage" in some way, most of the people disagree with his actions. He killed Ikemefuna so that he would not appear weak, but in actuality, the others said that it was not the right move, showing they do have morals. Also, their is a sense of sympathy for the wives and children of Okonkwo who he treats so poorly. Oknonkwo is purely physical and is short tempered; however, the rest of his family seems to be more thoughtful and emotional. Also, it mentions several times that Okonkwo feels emotion "internally," proving he does have feelings, he just doesn't show them.

Brooke Williamson said...

Okonkwo epitomizes the short-tempered, enraged character in Achebe's novel. His basis of action is to live and act opposite of his father, whom he loathed for being lazy and idle. Therefore, Okonkwo places significant emphasis on not showing emotion and instead, resorting to violence rather than speaking words and expressing his feelings. He considers gentleness a weak attribute. It is apparent that he is a hard worker, however, he is quite aggressive in his mannerisms.

Savannah Watermeier said...

I agree. Achebe's intentions are not clear. He wants to show that the native peoples are good people, but the society he paints is very misogynistic. However, I know this novel is as written in 1958. Misogyny and beating your wife was probably more accepted back then. But reading it 2017, it makes me not like the book.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I think Things Fall Apart more than anything focuses on providing an accurate view of Igbo culture, and tries as hard as it can make the reader comprehend it. You can see this in the way Achebe blends traditional Igbo words into the text, encouraging readers to look further. The message isn't that Igbo culture isn't the same or similar to European culture, but different, and that's ok.

Bailey Taylor said...

I think it portrays a very real image of the tribe. Achebe did not want to make the tribe seem perfect because that just wouldn't be real. He needed it to be real and relatable in order to convey the true nature of the tribe. His whole goal was to prove that the Igbo were people and didn't deserve to be slaves and I think he did that. I'm sure some Europeans could have related to that family dynamic in that it was man who did everything possible not to be his father. It's a very real and raw portrayal of the Igbo society which makes it that much more impactful.