The Great Okonkwo´s Demise : A Feminist and Postcolonial Literary Analysis of the Concept of Emasculation in Things Fall Apart

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Engelska

Author: Joakim Pårs; [2019]

Keywords: Emasculation;

Abstract: As the title suggests, this essay is a feminist and postcolonial literary analysis of the main character Okonkwo´s downfall and demise in acclaimed author Chinua Achebe´s 1958 novel, Things Fall Apart. A recurrent theme within the narrative is the concept of gender differences and gender roles, in the strict traditional and patriarchal system which serves as the setting of the narrative. Okonkwo, who is a traditional and proud Igbo man, has an aversion toward what is considered to be weak and feminine. Okonkwo is therefore struck with depression when he finds himself in a weak and helpless position, as well as emasculated emotional state of mind. Furthermore, Okonkwo becomes a victim to colonialism in the latter part of the narrative, which consequently adds to his already helpless and emasculated state of mind. The purpose with this essay is therefore to investigate if feelings of emasculation are the cause for Okonkwo´s final decision to end his own life. Based upon the analysis included in this essay, one of the conclusions that could be drawn was that the helplessness and feelings of emasculation Okonkwo experiences within the narrative are too much for him to cope with and therefore cause his downfall and demise.          

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