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He viewed his father as overly pensive, slow to act, and effeminate (womanly). Okonkwo's fame had grown like a bush-fire in the harmattan . Just like a brush-fire, Okonkwo’s fame, importance, and prestige grew stronger the longer he burned. As his fame and popularity increased, Okonkwo pursued his ideal of masculinity.Therefore, Okonkwo adopts opposite traits; Okonkwo is rash, quick to act, and excessively violent (Okonkwo associates violence with masculinity). Okonkwo constantly distanced himself from anything even remotely feminine.Achebe uses figurative language like metaphors and similes to compare Okonkwo to a fire. He constantly reminded himself of his masculinity and strove to make sure all his clansmen knew of it as well.
Ultimately, the success of as a novel of literary merit is due to Achebe’s use of universal literary themes like self-exploration, change, tradition, cultural clash, and masculinity versus femininity.In order to sculpt a literary monument to the human condition and these universal themes, the author, Achebe, employs a broad variety of literary tools.Literary devices play a crucial role in enhancing the novel’s main themes and earning its widespread acceptance as a quality piece of literature.In addition to cultural clash, Achebe explores the theme of masculinity versus femininity, and in doing so, reveals Okonkwo’s fatal character flaw: hyper-masculinity. He trembled with the desire to conquer and subdue” (42).Okonkwo is motivated by a desire to prove himself superior to his father, who was cowardly and irresponsible and died a poor man with many unpaid debts. Okonkwo gained power and importance in Umuofian society by burning lesser people as fuel. Okonkwo’s inner fire is what allowed him to conquer Umuofian society and rise above the disgrace of his father.Okonkwo saw within Nwoye the same “effeminate” essence of his the father whom he hates so much.Although Okonkwo’s fiery personality is what allowed him to succeed in Umuofian society, his destructive nature also led to his eventual suicide.As the Europeans gained influence and political clout in the Umuofian government, Okonkwo saw his own power and influence at risk.When the Europeans finally succeed in taking control of the government, then Okonkwo—like a fire without any fuel—dies, a victim of his own nature.The clash of cultures is undoubtedly one of the most universal themes seen in literature. and China are one example; the Palestinians and Israelis are another—continue their struggles to reconcile dissimilar beliefs through negotiation, and in some cases, armed conflict.This cultural clash can be seen throughout life and history anytime two groups of people hold differing views that cannot coexist. Similarly, the European missionaries and the native Umuofians struggle to coexist peacefully.