Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is set in the late nineteenth century, and shows the great conflict of white colonial government and the culture of the Igbo tribe. The story starts out with protagonist Onkonkwo, a wealthy and respected warrior of the Umuofia clan, reminiscing his father. His father Unoka was a very cowardly and irresponsible man, who died owing many people money. In response to his father's lack of success and low standards, Onkonkwo becomes a warrior and farmer like no other. He strives to make his way in a world that seems to value manliness, power, and prestige. In doing so, he blocks all things out of his mind that his father stood for. Onkonkwo adopts opposite traits and becomes productive, wealthy, brave and opposes anything that might be thought of as soft, such as emotion. .
Okonkwo works his way up the social and financial ladder by embracing his ideas of hard work. He marries three wives due to his wealth and fathers several children. He was thought of as an elite warrior. He had won many battles for his village and had even taken the lives of his enemies. Those who had taken the lives of their enemies were considered great heroes and were admired by the tribe. Okonkwo was not only a great warrior, but he also excelled in agriculture. Even though Okonkwo had been brought up in a poor household, he managed to work other clansmen land. After he had worked the land for a while, the land owner would pass ownership over to him. Okonkwo gained all of his land this way. He never had anything handed over to him. He worked for everything he had ever owned. .
Okonkwo feared that his oldest son Nwoye, whom he found lazy, would turn out to be like his father Unoka. Nwoye struggles in the shadow of his powerful, successful, and demanding father. In a settlement with a fellow tribe, Okonkwo is forced to house a young fifteen year old boy, Ikemefuna. At first Okonkwo doesn't care for the boy but later finds an ideal son in him.