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A Great Leader

Nitchanan Thapthim Jean (1208)

Since the past, in many society, men are the gender that are considered as a leader to rule

and control other people, especially in the families. (Murray, 2012). Fathers should be the one

that maintain their families and the leader that bring their household to move forward. Compared

with the females which are weak and not appropriate for being a good leader. There are so many

reasons why men are fit for being a leader, not only because of the leadership they have. Chinua

Achebe described the ideas that men are the only gender that must be a leader because they are

strong, powerful and responsible to sustain the family in Things Fall Apart.

To begin with, in Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe expressed that because of the

physically of men which are strong, so it makes them must be a leader. Okonkwo’s father,

Unoka was lazy and did nothing which made himself weaker and not respectful, unlike

Okonkwo, he struggled himself to become a trustworthy durable man in his village. He

succeeded since he was young as the best wrestler at that time because he beat the "Amalinze the

cat” who was the great wrestler for seven year, no one could beat Amalinze the cat. Therefore,

after the wrestling competition between Okonkwo’s village and their neighborhood was ended,

the result was Okonkwo was the winner of the competition. This results made Okonkwo was

accepted among his village. It can be said that this match between Okonwo and Amalinze the cat

strike a lot of people including his second wife, Ekwefi. According to the text, “She did not

marry him then because he was too poor to pay her bride-price. […] But her love of wrestling

contests was still as strong as it was thirty years ago.” (Achebe, pg.40). This indicated that

throughout the first part of the novel. It demonstrates the sport that the main character, Okonkwo,

and other people in the village did was wrestling. Igbo culture believed that the masculinity was

Nitchanan Thapthim Jean (1208)

stronger than feminine. Therefore, wrestling was a sport that symbolize what the man should do

in order to be accepted in the village. Ekwefi fell in love with him and attracted with a strong

men because of wrestling even she already had her husband, but it did not change her mind to

see Okonkwo. It is obvious seen that the women who ran away from her husband and seek for

the better one can not guarantee that he can suits better than her old husband, but because of the

strength of Okonkwo that make her believe that a man who is physically strong will be a good

leader to sustain the family.

In addition, Chinua Achebe describes a theme in Things Fall Apart that the reason that

why men is suite to be a leader is because they are powerful. As Okonkwo had three wives and a

lot of children, the most important things that he need to have is powerfulness. Because of a lot

of wives, so he had to have a power on them in order to let them obey and lived with him under

his command. This is demonstrated by “Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His

wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper,”(Achebe, pg.13)

Because of his fear of his father’s failure and weakness, so that how they rule his household was

to hate what his father did. He figured it out by be the leader with the most authority in his

family to rule them. For example, when the author described, how he had an influence on his

wives, it says “When Okonkwo brought him home that day he called his most senior wife and

handed him over to her. […] thundered, and stammered. (Achebe, pg.14)

This is an evident seen that Okonkwo is very powerful on his wife. He treated his wife to follow

what he command. Moreover, the reaction of his wife is to say nothing and did what he let her to

do which means that Okonkwo can rule his wives under his direction easily. “And so he was










Nitchanan Thapthim Jean (1208)







man.”(Achebe, pg.53) This indicates that he also teach his son, Nwoye, on what he was. Besides,

this statement is more emphasize that he really can control his women under his adjuration.

Finally, Chinua Achebe, in Things Fall Apart, reveals that because males have more

responsibility than females which lead them to be a leader more than anyone else. Yam was a

crop that was known as a King of the crop which was the crop that represented the masculinity,

the crop that men grow. “Yam, the king of crops, was a very exacting king. For three or four

moons it demanded hard work and constant attention from cockcrow till the chickens went back

to roost.”(Achebe, pg.33) Because of the king’s crop, yam, is represented the masculine task.

This crop is needed a lot of responsibility to look after and hard work on growing this crop. In

Igbo belief, women cannot grow this crop because they think that female were less responsibility

to look after this crop which means male were trusted to grow this more than female. As

Okonkwo has three barns of his own which shows how wealth he was “Yam stood for manliness,

and he who could feed his family on yams from one harvest to another was a very great man

indeed.”(Achebe, pg.33) This implied to emphasize that Okonkwo are a masculine which is

appropriated for a leader who are responsibility and be the great men. Okonkwo succeed on that

and also be a leader as what a man should be. Compared with his father, Unoka, which cannot

succeed on growing Yam because of his laziness and lack of responsibility lead to weakness and

not suitable for being a leader in his village.

To conclude, this perception of men are appropriate to be a leader because men are

strong, powerful and have responsibility. The action and appearance that Okonkwo expressed

Nitchanan Thapthim Jean (1208)

clearly show why men should be a leader; he worked hard in order to not being like his father

that fail even to grow yam. Laziness of his father make Okonkwo attempted and succeed in what

men being a leader should be. Although, at the end, tension make him decided to suicide himself,

but his masculinity and a great assiduous leader is impress in our mind to consider us that he can

sustain his family until he died.


Nitchanan Thapthim Jean (1208)

Poetry Foundation. (n.d.). Chinua Achebe. Retrieved from poets/chinua-achebe

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Leah, E. (2014, October 29). 4 Reasons Why Many Prefer a Male Boss. Retrieved from https://

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Chinua, A. (2017). Things Fall Apart. New York, NY: Penguin Books

Nitchanan Thapthim Jean (1208)