Okonkwo's life is dominated by "the fear of failure and of weakness". In the patriarchal hierarchy of his tribe, honor and respect are measured in strength and courage, and Okonkwo's constant fear is that he will not measure up. On the surface, there appears to be little basis for Okonkwo's feelings of inadequacy. He has a prosperous household with three wives and his crops provide an abundant yield. He has also proven his bravery in battle many times over, having personally captured numerous human heads. Despite all this, Okonkwo's fear runs deep. It is "not external but (lies) deep within himself". He is constantly on guard never to show any sign of weakness in all his relations and endeavors.
Okonkwo's father, Unoka, had been a gentle man with little ambition. He abhorred warfare and so was considered a coward, and, spending his days in idleness, he never took a title to prove his manhood. Unoka was scorned by the others in his tribe, and Okonkwo, having been teased because of his father when he was young, deeply "resented his father's failure and weakness". As an adult, then, the basis of Okonkwo's constant fear is that "he should be found to resemble his father".
In his eyes, Okonkwo's first son, Nwoye, is prone to laziness. Terrified that Nwoye will end up like his grandfather Unoka, Okonkwo harrasses the boy mercilessly to shape up. Because of Okonkwo's fears, his relationship with his son is in shambles; "Nwoye (is) developing into a sad-faced youth" (Chapter 2).
April 26, 2013
Fear is a distressing state of mind aroused by impending danger, evil, and even mental pain. The idea of fear is greater than fear itself. It is an emotion that we subconsciously create, it is the emotion evoked by the idea of believing illusions, lies and false information. Fear is what drives us to execute actions that we would never normally do, unrestrained from the presence of fear we act with morality, thought and discipline. In Things Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe, fear is evident throughout Okonkwo's life. The fear of being anything close to his father Unoka, the fear of acting anything other than a man and the fear of adjusting to anything other than his own social customs is what…show more content…
The fear of arousing circumstances can also put a persons actions in line and pointed toward the right direction. Such as in the case of Okonkwo’s son, Nwoye, his fear is toward the wrath of his father. He is afraid of defying his wishes and having his father severely beat him. This is what led to his conversion to Christianity, it gave him hope to another lifestyle so he wouldn't have to be afraid of his father all the time. During the the week of peace, Ikemefuna Nwoye and Okonkwo were preparing the yams for the week of peace, Okonkwo, once again, would rather raise his sons with brute force and violence rather than compassion and kindness, “.. he [Okonkwo] always found fault with their effort, and he said so with much threatening. 'Do you think you are cutting up yams for cooking?' he asked Nwoye. 'If you put another yam of this size, I shall break your jaw. You think you are still a child. I began to farm at your age. I will not have a son who cannot hold up his head in the gathering of the clan. I would sooner strangle him with my own hands” (28). Okonkwo believes that assertive authority is the way to raise a boy to a man, but little does he know that being violently assertive will result in his son losing respect and completely resenting him. His fear of allowing his sons to be anything like his own father caused him to be viciously brutal toward his