Things Fall Apart

How does the clan strike an apparent harmony between the will of the Community and the needs of the Individual?

Ch. 7

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One example is the way in which Okonkwo builds his fortune and strength with the help of his society's customs. Likewise, Okonkwo's society benefits from his hard work and determination and the role of culture in society.

With the death of Ikemefuna, Okonkwo's behavior demonstrates the needs of the individual more than anything else. Okonkwo is told by the elders that he need not take part in the murder (execution), but Okonkwo makes an individual choice based on the fear he will be seen as weak. He murders someone he loved based upon his fear of how he will be perceived by the clan as a whole, even at the expense of the feelings of his family.