Things Fall Apart

Chapters 1-7

What political and social factors govern the tribe and how does this impact Okonkwo's life decisions?

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There are many political and social factors that impact Okonkwo's life decisions. Okonkwo is determined to be a lord of his clan. He rises from humble beginnings to a position of leadership, and he is a wealthy man. He is driven and determined, but his greatness comes from the same traits that are the source of his weaknesses. He is often too harsh with his family, and he is haunted by a fear of failure. Okonkwo's hubris and emotional instability puts him at odds with the village elders and the people he trusts. His killing of his adopted son, Ikemefuna, as well as the violence against one Ojiugo during the week of peace affects Okonkwo's place in the village. As often happens with tragedy, the catastrophe comes through a complex mix of external forces and the character's choices.

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