How is Okonkwo oppressed in TFA? Give the cause, how he responded, the effects, and the end result.

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julierunacres eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The issue is complicated by the fact that for much of the novel Okonkwo is himself an oppressor. He rules his household with 'a heavy hand', beating his youngest wife and turning on Ekwefi with a gun during the Week of Peace. He also despises his son Nwoye's perceived effeminacy.

Okonkwo is himself oppressed by internal and external factors. Internally, he is oppressed by the fear of being like his father, Unoka, a failure in that he had taken no titles. Okonkwo's life is dedicated to achieving status and success in male terms, but the motivation is fear 'of being thought weak.' Externally, the influence of European colonialism oppresses him. He returns from exile to find Umuofia changed beyond recognition by the white settlers and their missionary teaching. He and other elders of the tribe are imprisoned and beaten by the corrupt court messengers. When released, Okonkwo decapitates one of the court messengers who tries to break up a meeting in the market place, in the hope of precipitating a war against the white man's rule. But he finds he is alone in taking such a stand, and commits the ultimate abomination to the Igbo religion in taking his own life by hanging.

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Things Fall Apart

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