In Chapter 2 of Things Fall Apart, it says, ” His [Okonkwo] wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness… It was not external but lay deep within himself.” (pg. 12-13)
This quote describes Okonkwo’s behavior with his family, and why he acts the way he does. He lashes out at people because of his insecurities and fears of inadequacy. While this does not excuse abusive behavior in any way, the explanation is important to understand. Where does his issues stem from? His father, the society he lives in, or maybe both? How is this exacerbated by his exile and move to his mother’s village in Chapters 14 and 15?