Okonkwo commits himself to be a masculine role inhis tribe, and later fall both within the tribe and in the eyes of his sonNwoye. The book is filled with the rise of Okonkwo in his life and ultimatelythe fall of Okonkwo mainly due to the essential need of Okonkwo to be thismasculine figure that his father had never showed to him. Thisbook delves into the personal life of Okonkwo and both shows the strengths andthe weaknesses for example, Masculinity is a large part in this, “Even as a little boy he had resented his father’sfailure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered whena playmate had told him that his father was agbala.
That was how Okonkwofirst came to know that agbala was not only another name for a woman, itcould also mean a man who had taken no title. And so Okonkwo was ruled by onepassion to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved. One of those thingswas gentleness and another was idleness.” After analyzing this quote I began to see that not only describes themoment that Okonkwo decides to be nothing like his father Unoka, but it is themoment that changes Okonkwo’s whole life. Had it not been for that boy, Okonkwomaybe would have eventually decided that his dad wasn’t a terrible person butjust someone different.
Afterthis changing moment in Okonkwo’s life. Masculinity basically runs his life, hegrows to become a solid, resilient, and “manly” figure. Okonkwo believes intraditional gender roles, and it pains him that his son Nowye is not moreaggressive like himself. This createdgreat disappointment in his son, though he did have a son he also had adaughter Ezinma. “Ezinma took the dish inone hand and the empty water bowl in the other and went back to her mother’shut. “She should have been a boy,” Okonkwo said to himself again. His mind wentback to Ikemefuna and he shivered”.
Ezinma, because of the way that Nowye hadturned out, Okonkwo had brought her up to be in more resemblance of a malefigure. But the tribe still followed the gender rules as always and Okonkwo isshortly shown that even with a daughter whom characteristics were of a male,she still would be treated as a female and placed as a female would be placedin the community. “It was a crime againstthe earth goddess to kill a clansman, and a man who committed it must flee fromthe land. The crime was of two kinds, male and female. Okonkwo had committedthe female, because it had been inadvertent.
He could return to the clan afterseven years….” Okonkwo commits this act of severe consequence after killing amessenger out of the blue, but some may say this is an act of masculinity andthe thought of keeping the Whiteman in check and show who is in charge. Keepingwith this principle of masculinity, Okonkwo forces himself to kill his own “son”,murder the white man against his better judgment, and hang himself before apunishment can be pressed by others. Okonkwo’s aggression makes him weak in theend. Masculinitymay be the rise of Okonkwo but although this may have made Okonkwo what hewanted, the opposite of his father maybe, or to show that he is not going tolive under the reputation that his father had bestowed on Okonkwo, sure, butwhat I believe is the real impact of masculinity is the fall of his life.
Okonkwo makes terrible decisions just to be thought more a man of, and therepercussions of these choices throw him into a spiral of his own despise.