Fear leads him to lash out in some pretty nasty ways: beating his wives, abusing and alienating his oldest son, partaking in the murder of his adoptive son, etc.
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Overall, fear in this novel leads characters to behave in negative ways that can bring the wrath of the gods, guilt, and the community disapproval upon them. What does Okonkwo fear?
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How does he over compensate for it? What is the difference, if any, between fear of external things — the gods, loss of family members, etc. How can fear be a positive force?
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What useful things does fear push some characters to do? How does fear of the unknown and misunderstanding of different cultures affect the Umuofia and the Christians? Does either side ever really try to understand each other?
If so, name the specific characters. Although Okonkwo performs every action with the deliberate purpose of appearing fearless, he is ultimately ruled by fear — the fear of appearing to have fear. For instance, the idea that a child should be murdered or that the spirits of the dead must be appeased can have grave consequences for some characters.
Furthermore, this essay might also want to integrate how these customs changed after the whites and colonialism came. For an essay that changes this theme slightly, you might also want to consider the question of whether the customs and traditions of Igbo society do more harm than good.
If you follow this route for an essay, remember not to be ethnocentric and not make value judgments on their beliefs, instead just examine if such customs cause more problems than they solve using the text not fully opinions as your support. For this essay, you will want to find examples of differences in opinion on supernatural matters and how this tears the community apart.
For this essay, don't just concentrate on sections after the arrival of the white missionaries, look at hints of this theme before that, such as differences in opinion on tribal beliefs and customs. Also consider the differences between even like-minded men such as Mr. Brown and Mr.