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Chapters 4-6

posted Oct 26, 2011 18:52:53 by zraymond@hinghamschools.com
Elders attribute Okonkwo’s success to the biddings of a strong chi or a benevolent spirit. However, the narrator explains that Okonkwo did not have a benevolent spirit crack his palm-kernels, “he had cracked them himself”(27). How might this notion account for Okonkwo’s treatment of his wives? Of Ikemefuna and Nwoye?
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KAT05 said Oct 26, 2011 23:39:26
Okonkwo, along with the rest of the village, believe that Okonkwo was the one who paved his own life, not his chi or other gods. Okonkwo followed the idea that one can tell one's chi how to behave for the book states that "Okonkwo said yes very strongly; so his chi agreed" (27). Okonkwo believes that everyone is capable of changing their life so he insists upon hard work for his three wives in order to eventually better their lives. Furthermore, the hard work that Okonkwo completed to make up for his father's laziness and the success that Okonkwo gained from his own hard work, explains why he treats Ikemefuna and Nwoye so harshly. Okonkwo threatens Nwoye that "If you split another yam of this size, I shall break your jaw" (32). Okonkwo's threat was meant to motivate Nwoye and Ikemefuna to persevere and be successful, not only with yams, but in life in general. Although Okonkwo appears abusive and insensitive on the outside, he is trying to raise his family in a way that makes them prosper in the future when Okonkwo is not with them anymore.
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