“Have no hand in that boy’s death, he calls you father.”
That line has resonated with me throughout the entirety of this book. In Things Fall Apart, there is an emphasis on a person’s “chi” which is essentally their luck. Okonkwo complains on muliple occations about his terrible chi but in my opinion he was the cause of his problems. I noticed in the book that Okonkwo’s life started to take a turn for the worse about he killed Ikemfuna. First his daughter got sick, then he accidentally killed another member of the clan which lead to his exile. Everytime something went wrong in the life of Okonkwo I could help but think he did this to himself. His clan places a very important emphasis on listening to what the gods have to say or facing dire consequences. An argument could be made that if Okonkwo hadn’t killed Ikemfuna then he wouldn’t have had to leave his clan and that would have stopped all the other terrible things from happening such as his son becoming part of the missionaries.
An emphasis is placed on interconnectedness in Okonkwo’s village. Every action has a resulting effect. This is why pleasing the gods is of utmost importance in the village. The fear of the consquences associated with displeasing the gods keeps the people in the clan following the rules. However Okonkwo is different because the fear of coming off as weak to the rest of the village is more frightening for him. This is why he goes through great lenghts to prove his strength as a man. That was his primary reason for killing Ikemfuna. He did not want to be seen as a weak man who was afraid who kill the boy who was techinacally an outsider. His fear of weakness is greater than his fear of the gods and that is what ulimately lead to his downfall.