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However, the relationship between the Europeans and the Umuofians is one-sided.When the Europeans arrived in Umuofia, they brought Christianity with them but did not foist it upon anyone; joining the church was entirely optional.
Like a fire, Okonkwo is violent, and burns whatever he touches. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo nags on his wives and son, beats his family, and kills three innocent people—not to mention himself, as well.
In many cases, he hurts his family for trivial reasons.
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.
But over time, the missionaries became increasingly aggressive—even hostile—to the native Umuofian beliefs and culture.
Slowly, the Europeans erode the native beliefs and come to dominate the native society.
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.
“Okonkwo was popularly called the ‘Roaring Flame.’ As he looked into the log fire he recalled the name. The metaphor of fire is perfect to describe Okonkwo’s character, and yields a deep analysis of human feelings and personality.