Failing tobe a Man Countless men try to define whothey are by proving their masculinity, which leads to unhealthycompetitiveness, and aggressiveness. In Chinua Achebe’s, Things fall apart Okonkwo’s view on masculinity forces his son intoa world of exile, left to pick apart what makes a real man because of thisOkonkwo drives his deepest fear on to his son.Much of the traditional way of lifepresented in the text revolves heavily around the idea of gender rolesthroughout the community. Okonkwo is highly concerned with upholding his ideaof masculinity and the way he is viewed in the community. In many waysOkonkwo’s masculinity in compromised; he devalues every and anything he sees asfeminine which started with his father, Unoka. He works tirelessly to be thecomplete polar opposite of his father. Unoka’s carefree view of life causedstrain on the relationship with his son, leading to Okonkwo growing upresenting his father in every way.
Okonkwo worked hard to become a self-mademan with high rank in his community, in spite of the fact that ostensibly sternand intense, a majority of his life is managed by a deep-rooted internal fear.”He was not afraid of war. He was a man of action, a man of war” (Achebe 4)Okonkwo, unlike his father, was not afraid of working hard to ensure hissuccess. His most prominent, overpowering stress is that he will end upnoticeably like his father – languid, unfit to provide for his family, andweak. Okonkwo viewed many of hisfather’s qualities as feminine and will go to exhausting measures to ensure hedoes not resemble his father in any way, pushing his own son further andfurther away.Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son, endures themajority of his father’s tough love, Okonkwo “will not have a son who cannothold up his head in the gathering of the clan, he would sooner strangle himwith his own hands” (Achebe 14).
The steady beating of Nwoye by Okonkwo is donedeliberately by him with a specific end goal to forestall Nwoye from becomingplainly similar to Unoka. Okonkwo stresses over his child following in thestrides of his granddad that he even alludes to him being born the wrong genderas compared to one of his daughters that she should have been his son and Nwoyehis daughter. Okonkwo sees his child as an image of apathy simply like Unoka,thus he does his best to keep this from happening. The way that Nwoye hasfemale like attributes incenses his Okonkwo. Nwoye battles in the shadow of hisintense, fruitful, and requesting father that accordingly he is subjected tobeatings. It is unexpected how Okonkwo mocks his dad so much that he himselfhas raised up a child who has interests that take after Unoka. In spite ofOkonkwo drive to beat the femininity away from his son he interns beats his sonaway.
Nwoye sought the approval of his father, but each of his attempts was tono avail; just as Okonkwo feared to be like his father, Nwoye now exhibits thesame fear of being anything like his father. Okonkwo leaves Nwoye in an unfortunatepredicament, left to pick apart the qualities of what makes a real man.Nwoye’s fear of his father makeshis decision to leave his family easy when the opportunity presented its self.The white ministers’ songs of their god and the way things should really betouches Nwoye profoundly. This current evangelists’ message appears to talkabout another approach to experience life one which Nwoye never thought about.Nwoye wisely leaves, moving to Umuofia and joining the white missionary’sschool where he would learn to read and write. Okonkwo is irritated andextraordinarily beset by Nwoye’s double-crossing. He tries to quiet himself byrevealing to himself that Nwoye does not merit battling for.
Part of the reasonOkonkwo is so furious about Nwoye’s new religion is that he considersChristianity frail and delicate.Okonkwo sees his dad in Nwoye andcan hardly imagine how he could father a child who’s so much like him. AfterNwoye’s transformation to Christianity, Okonkwo accumulates whatever is left ofhis five children together and issues a final proposal: “You have all seen thegreat abomination of your brother. Now he is no longer my son or your brother.I will only have a son who is a man, who will hold his head up among my people.If anyone of you prefers to be a woman, let him follow Nwoye now while I amalive so that I can curse him” (Achebe 70).
Societyincessantly forces young boys and men into a box, built upon how a man shouldand should not be. In things fall apart it shows how messed up one can becomewhen limited to the ideals of that box of what true masculinity is supposed tolook like. Okonkwo disowns and neglects his own son in the worst way, deprivinghim of love and encouragement that was needed to build him up, all to be surenever to re-live the sins of his father. This same situation is present incountless homes around the world. The continues pressure of the male species toprove his masculinity causes unneeded dysfunction within families and society.”boys and men are held accountable to display gender in situationally specificways” (Young 5), shown by Okonkwo time and time again throughout the text.
Okonkwo sliced through the innocents of Inkunmfa, drove fear into his son andbroke peace between his wife all to prove his masculinity to those around himand his-self regardless of consequences or moral deposition, believing that”violence is a resource for demonstrating and showing a person is a man”(Anderson 359). “Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives,especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper” (Achebe5). Nwoye being deprived of a relationship with Okonkwo, do to his fathermisconception sets Nwoye up for failure. The lack of feeling for the surfingand shame Okonkwo conflicted on Nwoye with his words and judgment for his ownselfish reasons only strained the relationship more (Goldenberg).The Hostility inflict on Nwoyewould cause him to battle with understanding who he is and what purpose heserves.
Okonkwo tries to disregard the unresolved and open wounds inflicted byUnoka but the hurt still lingers resurfacing in many of Okonkwo’s flaws as anadult, he is creating the same fear he has of his father for his son. The lackof wisdom, love, and compassion passed between a father and son leaves maturingyoung men “not knowing what to do with their problematic and disorientedmasculinity” (Pittman). studies show that the presence of a father figurepromotes a better emotional and social development as well as overall wellbeing”men who reported a good relationship with their fathers during childhood wereless affected by stressful events than those who had poor father-sonrelationships” (Monitor on Psychology). Nwoye’s emotional development was oneof the first things to be compromised by the lack of positive involvementbetween Okonkwo.
fathers who are involved in the care of their sons positionsthem to be more likely to be securely attached to them, be better able tohandle strange situations, and be more resilient in the face of stressfulsituations. More curious and eager to explore the environment, relate morematurely to strangers, react more competently to complex and novel stimuli, andbe more trusting in branching out in their explorations (Allen 3). Followingthe lack of emotional development Nwoye’s social and judgment skills were alsodistorted. Father contribution is emphatically associated with a child’sgeneral social ability, social activity, social development, and limit withregards to relatedness with others. Children of included fathers will probablyhave positive companion relations, beneficiary associate relations areencapsulated by less antagonism, less animosity, less clash, greatercorrespondence, greater liberality, and then some positive fellowships.
Children of included fathers will indicate less negative passionate responsesamid play with peers, encounter less strain in their connections with otherchildren, and comprehend clashes without anyone else’s input as opposed tolooking for help. Children who have included fathers will probably grow up tobe tolerant furthermore, understanding, A Fathers warmth and nurturanceessentially predicts children’s ethical development. (Allen 4-5) Nwoye turnedto the white missionaries for social acceptance when he was rejected byOkonkwo. Okonkwo not only committed an injustice toward Nwoye but as well astoward himself seeing that there are benefits of father involvement forfathers. Men who are included fathers feel more fearless and viable asguardians, find parenthood all the more fulfilling, feel all the morecharacteristically vital to their kid and feel urged to be much more included.Investing energy dealing with youngsters furnishes fathers with opportunitiesto show love and to support their Included fathers will probably observe theircollaborations with their kids emphatically be more mindful to their children’sadvancement better comprehend, and be more tolerating of their kids (Allen 11).Fathers who are engaged with their children’s lives will probably show more prominentpsychosocial development, be more fulfilled with their lives, feel less mentaltrouble also, empathically toward others, and incorporate their sentiments in aprogressing way.
Included fathers report less incidental and unexpected losses,not exactly normal contact with the law, less substance manhandles, lesshealing facility confirmations, and a more noteworthy feeling of prosperity.(Allen 12)Nwoye challenges to understand whatit means to be a man and where he fits in society. Longing for attention andhappiness, Nwoye sought shelter from everything his father did not like, fromthe stories he enjoyed hearing, to the joining of the white missionaries.Okonkwo became the very thing that he feared, his father, forcing a continuouscycle of father-son destruction. Okonkwo placed Nwoye in a devastatingpredicament, unaware of the horrid consequences. Nwoye being practicallystranded in a world that lacked the vital necessities he need for emotional andsocial development could result in him becoming who he now fears, Okonkwo,Nwoye’s unresolved hurt and painbrought on by Okonkwo leads to bottled up tension and anger that he could, likeOkonkwo take out on the innocent like his own wife’s, children, and society. Apositive father figure in the lives of young men is essential to raising a wellround individual.
Love, compassion, and the willingness to be open-minded andexcepting are a few very important key characteristics of a positive father. IfOkonkwo would have demonstrated any of these traits while raising Nwoye therelationship between the two could have had an alternate ending regardless ofthe relationship between Okonkwo and Unoka. Okonkwo’s neglect toward Nwoyepromotes the “evolving moral and spiritual sympathies of Nwoye moving him away fromsuch worldly sights to identification with the unprotected and”unprotectable” of his culture, those immiserated by thecontradictory codes and practices of his society” (Jeyifo 851). If Nwoye feltcomfortable enough with his father to express his feelings he would have beenmore willing to understand the man Okonkwo made himself into shedding apositive light on what really makes a man; working hard to have what he was notborn titled to, creating a better life for his family regardless of his situation,and molding ideals that he can pass down for generations to come; ending thenegative father-son sequence with Nwoye and Okonkwo. WorksCitedAchebe, Chinua.
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