How might Okonkwo's extremism be a response to the extremism of his father?

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kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Okonkwo always felt betrayed by and disappointed in his father Unoka. The fact that he never worked hard and owed money to so many different tribe members made Okonkwo feel that he started his life far behind and that he had to fight even more desperately to make up for the fact that he had no inheritance and that his father had never been able to provide sufficiently for the family. Unoka only cared to play his flute, to drink palm wine, and to spend whatever money he had in the moment. He cared nothing for titles or prosperity or any of the traditional measures of success.

Because of this, Okonkwo cared too much for those measures of success. He felt that if he could work hard enough and be "manly" enough, he could achieve anything despite any obstacle. This makes him a hot-tempered maniac at times, prone to overreact to any perceived slight and unable to consider the outcome of his actions. He also finds himself unable to accept advice and unable to ever compromise when he believes he is in the right. This obviously leads to his downfall and death when the white settlers arrive and he sees the threat they are to his traditional Igbo culture.

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Things Fall Apart

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