From the way the writer presents the story, what do you think led to Okonkwo's death and what does his death mean to you?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Okonkwo commits suicide because he cannot accept the changes that have come to his village since he returns from Mbanta, The white missionaries have moved in and brought their white government. The traditional values he was brought up with and lived for have changed. Okonkwo has spent his life trying to live up to the values of manhood ingrained in the Igbo culture because his father was such a failure in his community. At the beginning of the novel, Okonkwo is respected and is gaining all the titles he covets. He believes this is his way of making up for the "chi" or lifeforce he inherited from his father. However, when the Christian missionaries arrive and begin to convert his people, especially the outcasts of his community, Okonkwo feels personally insulted. He has spent all his life trying not to be an outcast and suddenly these White men accept them and they rise to important positions. When he can get no one to support his fight against the White establishment, he realizes his life's work is worthless and he kills himself because he cannot bring himself to change his values.

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Things Fall Apart

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