Things Fall Apart: Character Analysis of Okonkwo
We have read the novel Things Fall Apart and the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in class which is a a part of Part 4: language and literature course. I have selected Things Fall Apart as the primary source for my task and am creating an alternate version of the ending for the novel. I feel that the main protagonist, Okonkwo was tied up with the rules and tradition of the Igbo culture and committing suicide was considered such a heinous crime in in the Igbo culture.
I believe Okonkwo together with the people of Umuofia should have caught the messengers and arrested them and then try to drive the government out of the nine villages. The purpose is to bring more meaning to the ending as it appeals to the majority and will show Okonkwo standing up in those times of despair and confusion and gain a lot of power and influence. In my opinion, the white men were wrong to invade someone else’s land and build a government without the consent of it people.
Throughout the novel, neither the Igbo tradition nor Christianity is criticized or appraised and therefore I aim to maintain this flow even in my alternate ending.
The waiting backcloth sprung into action and caught them all but one before they could flee. Before Okonkwo could speak, Okika raised his voice and spoke, the uproar quickly subsided. “We have no right to kill them, Agbala will decide their fate” He called out to two men from his village and asked them to lock them up. “What Okonkwo did was wrong, but it was a message and we had to show these white men that they have no right to storm into our village and keep hostage the leaders of the clan”. There was some murmuring in the crowd but they all knew that Okika was right. He roared “Umuofia kwenu”, the crowd shouted “Yaa”
“Umuofia kwenu” one again, “Yaa”, again and again. Oknonkwo now knew- war was imminent.
The last of the messengers who had fled quickly arrived to the district commissioner and narrated what had happened. He was shocked, this feeling soon turned into disbelief and finally resignation. However, he was quick to act and sent out some messengers to neighboring villages soon. He sat on his seat startled but at the same time fuming with anger.
The people of Umuofia got to know what had happened in Abame and word was sent out to ally neighboring villages for help. Okonkwo sat in his ibo deciding on what to do with his family. Ezinma sat beside him looking worried but she knew everything that was happening. “I will fight” said Ezinma. Okonkwo peacefully said “Ezinma, my daughter, I cannot let anything happen to you. I will be back very soon till then I have decided that you all will be going and staying in Mbanta until I return. A war is not for a girl”. Even though Ezinma wanted to fight, she knew her father wont let her do so.
Okonkwo called for Ekwefi and asked her to quickly pack her bags as they would be leaving for Mbanta. He then gathered his armory and sharpened his machete, preparing himself to fight.
The next day troops from some villages arrived and all the women and children were sent to some other village or hidden away in the caves. Together everyone marched towards freedom, they marched towards their fate. Okonkwo was leading everyone, he was a fierce fighter and was still known for defeating the cat. “In the name of Chukwu, we fight” bellowed Okonkwo. Everyone marched towards the district commissioner’s office. All the converts and the Christians did not go with them, they either stayed at home or were scared enough to flee to other villages.
At the same time the district commissioner had called for his own troops and was getting ready to give justice to the people of Umuofia. Uzochi, one of the converts came and alarmed the district commissioner that a large number of people armed with guns and machetes were heading their way. Alarmed, the district commissioner immediately called out to his gathered troops to get ready and prepare their guns.
It was war, Okonkwo thought finally. This was all he wanted, to become the most influential member in his clan. He stood at the door of the district commissioner’s office and cried out loud “Come outside or we will break down the door”.
On the left however was another army. Okonkwo turned and looked right at the district commissioner who was more than a mile away. “It’s time” he said and charged towards the district commissioner. Both sides started shooting bullets and started running towards each other. Okonkwo reached and started shedding blood on first sight, he felt a burst of energy running inside him, he felt his chi growing and he felt more powerful then ever.
‘Thud’, he chopped a person’s head off. Okonkwo’s pride had grown and he felt the satisfaction of killing yet another man. However, the dead body had a very familiar face. He had killed a young boy who he saw up grow just beside his home, Okonkwo thought “Is this fighting necessary” and drove his machete into the ground and yelled towards the sky praying to the gods to forgive him for all the sins he has committed.
In another shwoop, a young man drove his machete and down lay Okonkwo. His blood started flowing out but he could faintly see the face of his killer before he died, it was Nwoye. Nwoye acted on impulse and understood it was too late. Now the fighting had completely subsided and men started crowding around his body. There was utter silence, blood all around and countless lives lost. Okika stood up at the moment and begged forgiveness. He felt it was a mistake to fight in the first place. The Christian missionaries and their troops were sitting on a clear defeat as even they didn’t have any more men left to fight and quickly accepted their terms. A tear rolled down Nwoye’s face as he looked back into his past, then with a stern look he got up and confronted Okika and asked him that this is bot told to his family and for a fair government to be set up. Okika agreed and peace was declared.
A new government was built but with both white men and the egwugwu. A church was also built and the Christians were given a place to live and stay outside the Evil Forest.
As for Okonkwo, he was given a proper burial and Obierika helped build a new compound for his wives and children who were never told about the killer of Okonkwo. Nwoye was accepted back into the family and the Christians and clans grew close ultimately. Okonkwo’s story is told till this day in many households in Nigeria and has become a common folktale of strength and courage in many villages around Africa.
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