Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Things Fall Apart by Cinua Achebe, how does Okonkwo differ from Western Heros?

Expert Answers info

teach1052 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write6 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Okonkwo is different than western heroes because there is no one to challenge directly. The cowboy challenged the rustlers and someone may have died in the shootout. Regardless of whom might have died, the challenge was seen as a righteous one.

Okonkwo's challenge to the guard left the guard without a head and Okonkwo without anyone believing his cause was noble or righteous. His impulsiveness led him to his position of death, which he chose to impart upon himself rather than anyone who was outside the tribe. He believed he had honor, at least, from carrying out his own death even if he had none in the challenge to the newly established order.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Mike Rosenbaum eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2005

write1,774 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

The Western hero is strong, handsome and sensitive. He is able to "leap tall buildings" and handle any crisis, but is also capable of feeling and showing love. Indeed, it is his love and his compassion for others that often leads him to take on the dangerous obstacles that solidify his hero status.

Trapped by the biases of his tribe and his culture, Okonkwo hides all feeling of sympathy and compassion and is thus distinguished from Western heroes. He is strong, larger than life, able to conquer obstacles. However, he is haunted by his effeminate father, terrified that the tribe will connect him with the personality traits that are so reviled in the community. Therefore, Okonkwo overcompensates. He rules with an iron fist, shows little mercy and no compassion. In Western literature, he would be best cast as the villian. In this novel, his successes make him a [tragic] hero.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


lee-leebaby96 | Student

unlike western heroes okonkwo show little mercey and little emotions in and also there is no one for him to challenge directlyand people didnt really understand or believed his cause.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial