In Things Fall Apart, list four physical characteristics that separate Okonkwo's appearance from that of the other men in his village.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In the beginning of the novel, Okonkwo is described in a variety of ways, his physical prowess is made much of, but he is also described as follows:

"tall and huge, and his bushy eyebrows and wide nose gave him a very severe look."

He is also apparently someone that walks very much on his toes as they say his heels "hardly touch the ground" and he looked like he was walking on springs and just building up tension "as if he was going to pounce on somebody."  This was in almost complete contrast to his father who was tall but very thin and stooped over.

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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Achebe describes Okonkwo as physically stronger than other men in his village. He works very hard on his farm so that he can provide for his family. In fact, Achebe indicates that Okonkwo toiled from “cock-crow until the chickens went to roost” long after other men had retired to rest. His physical might enable him fight to defend his village and he earns great respect when he defeats Amalinze the Cat.  This trait clearly separates Okonkwo from his father, who was famous for laziness and even bequeathed the name agbala for his feminine tendencies.

Achebe describes Okonkwo as being huge and tall with “bushy eyebrows and a wide nose” that gave him an intense and intimidating look. Also, he has a unique spring-like walking style because his heels hardly touched the ground as though on constant alert to attack. A combination of these characteristics instilled fear in not only his wives and children, but other villagers as well. Achebe also describes Okonkwo as having a slight stammer which is worsened by anger.


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