Things Fall Apart

Murder and Repression in Things Fall Apart College

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel full of individuals, within a tribe, as they deal with the frequently tragic and disappointing events of their lives. Okonkwo, the protagonist, and his son, Nwoye, are two of these individuals who must learn to cope with these difficulties and heartaches. The murder of Ikemefuna, the adopted son of Okonkwo, is a pivotal event in Things Fall Apart and the use of repression by both Okonkwo and Nwoye provides us with a better understanding of the characterization of Okonkwo through desperate yearning for masculinity and Nwoye through his desire to alienate himself his father and their tribe.

Okonkwo constantly felt an unconscious fear of failure and weakness stemming from an anxiety that he would become like his father Unoka. One of the first things that we learn about Okonkwo is that “he had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had had no patience with his father” (Achebe 4). His father, “Unoka…was a failure. He was poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat” (Achebe 5). As Okonkwo grew older, he wanted nothing more than to be successful and masculine, the exact opposite of his father. “His whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness…and so...

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