A Stone in a Sea of Chaos A Essay on the struggle of Okonkwo Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

Essay by knowfx108High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2005

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"Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action" (205; Ch. 24). Okonkwo was a man of great honor and many names, he threw Amalinze the Cat, he had two barns full of yams and three wives he was one of the most honored men of his village. Okonkwo could have become the greatest man in the history of Umuofia but his inability to adapt to the changing times destroyed him. Okonkwo hated his father's legacy and attempted to become everything his father was not. He strived for success in every aspect of his life, he was the perfect example of the African proverb "if a child washed his he could eat with kings" (8; Ch. 1) in that he is able to follow a different path than his father.

However the accidental firing of a rifle unravels everything Okonkwo had hoped to achieve, he was exiled for seven years. But the evolution and change that that his village goes through during his seven year exile will strip Okonkwo of his power. A natural selection will take place where not the strongest survive, but the ones most able to adapt. "Okonkwo saw clearly the high esteem in which he would be held, and he saw himself taking the highest title in the land" (172; Ch.20). He could not have been more wrong. The greatest danger to Okonkwo is not weakness or bad chi but the change a people can go through even if one refuses to see it. The changes that take place in Okonkwo's life slowly chipped away at his strength until he could not stand the world in which he lived in.