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The flaws of okonkwo

            In Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is a strong man when his beliefs and the clan are supporting him, but when he is separated from his law and beliefs, he is a worthless man. Although he is arguably the most powerful man in Umuofia, his personality flaws of fear of failure and uncontrollable anger, keep him from achieving true greatness as a human being. Okonkwo is one of the most powerful men in the Ibo tribe. In his tribe, he is both feared and honored. For example, "Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. [He] brought honor to his tribe by throwing Amalinze the Cat."(3) In Okonkwo's society, power is achieved by making a title in any way possible, including fighting and wrestling to achieve fame. Okonkwo's "prosperity was visible in his household. his own hut stood behind the only gate in the red walls. Each of his three wives had their own hut. long stacks of yams stood out prosperously in the barn. (14). Okonkwo works and tends to his crops in a passionate way and drives everyone around him to work as hard as he does. Because of this, he earns his place as one of Umuofia's most powerful men. In many cultures, having a big family is a source of pride. Although Okonkwo is not always happy with his children and wives, his family brings him a sense of pride to have a large family. Large families are usually considered to be wealthy families. Okonkwo's loyalty to his crops and family gives to him the respect that any father and husband deserves, and in his culture, being able to fight and kill as well gives him even more influence and power. Okonkwo's first major flaw is his fear of becoming a failure. His father, Unoka, mostly influences it, but Okonkwo takes his fear to the extreme. Unoka is a very lazy and carefree man. He has a reputation of being "poor and his wife and children had just barely enough to eat. [The clan] swore never to lend him any more money because he never paid back" (5).

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