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Things Fall Apart

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“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe offers several ideas as to what motivates people to do the things they do. Greed, anger, and love are just a few of the driving forces which people experience. One motivation, which will be examined in this paper, is that of fear. Fear is a powerful motivator that can either help or hinder. Fear inspires several of the characters in the book to take action in regard to their own particular situations and experiences. Either they conquer their fears and move on, use that fear to overcome a particular situation, or they continue to live in fear allowing it to control them. Nwoye has a fear of his father, Ekwefi has a fear of losing her daughter, and finally Okonkwo has a fear of becoming like his father. Each of these characters experiences some sort of fear and allows it to drive their actions. Nwoye is the oldest son of Okonkwo, who sees him as lazy and weak. At the beginning of the book, Nwoye is 12 years old and is harshly judged by Okonkwo because he cannot work as long or as hard. This results in nagging and beatings by his father to in an attempt to correct what Onkonkwo feels are negative personality traits. Then Ikemefuna joins the household. Ikemefuna is a boy given to Onkonkwo by a neighboring village. Ikemefuna becomes popular among all of Okonkwos children, but becomes especially close to Nwoye. Ikemefuna acts as an older brother to Nwoye, who seems to mature under the tutelage of Ikenefuna. This relationship gives Nwoye confidence and he begins to display the more masculine traits that his father has been trying to induce. Okonkwo is genuinely pleased with his son and knows it is because of Ikemefuna. Although Nwoye becomes more favored by his father because of the masculine traits he is exhibiting, he still longs to spend time with his mother in her hut. He keeps these feelings to himself and pretends not to care...

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