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Why Did Things Fall Apart?: Things Fall Apart Psychoanalysis

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Lois Y

on 19 March 2014

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Transcript of Why Did Things Fall Apart?: Things Fall Apart Psychoanalysis

Things Fall Apart Psychoanalysis
According to Freud, a person`s personality is composed of the id, the ego and the superego that influence a person`s behaviour, thinking and actions. However in Okonkwo`s unconscious mind there is an inner battle between the id, the ego and the superego, which in the end becomes one of the cause of his own destruction.
The id is everything that the superego disapproves of. For Okonkwo it is being seen as an “Agbala” (Achebe, 13) or womanly that he fears the most. He suppresses his emotions in order to be seen as manly. He hides under his ideal self in order to suppress the weak person that he is. Okonkwo’s life is dominated by “the fear of failure and weakness” (Achebe, 13), because he shows fear, he may not be as manly as he thinks he is.
The superego is represented by the Ibo elders and the males in the community. They are the ones that give the moral value that influences the way Okonkwo lives. There are certain things that must be met in order to be considered as manly such as having plenty of yams as it is a man`s crop. One will be called an “Agbala” (Achebe, 13) that can mean having no title and synonymous to being called a woman.
The Fall
Near the end of the book Okonkwo rebels against the elders, disobeying the superego’s demand and killing the messenger. Okonkwo thinks that by killing the messenger he is trying to prove that he is manly, however he realizes that “Umofia would not go to war” (Achebe, 205) symbolizing that the superego, who in the first place planted the idea of being a man into him, turning its back against him. Because there is no superego to balance and supress the id, the id unmasks itself causing him to be weak. By hanging himself he avoids all the consequences of his actions making him a coward. He hides from all his mistakes which can be seen as being weak.
Defense Mechanism
One of Okonkwo’s defense mechanism is that he is always trying to prove that he is a man even if he is already “well known throughout the nine villages” (Achebe, 4) for defeating the unbeatable wrestler. Throughout the novel, there are multiple times that Okonkwo proves his manliness. During one of the meeting Okonkwo tells the man with no title that “this meeting is for men” (Achebe) accentuating the fact that because he is a part of the meeting, he is a man. Also when Okonkwo hears Ekwefi say that his `guns that never shot`(Achebe, 39), he immediately fires the gun, nearly shooting his second wife. he immediately fires the gun, nearly shooting his second wife, in order to prove that he is a man.
Ideal Self
Okonkwo’s unconscious mind creates an ideal self, wherein he can be seen as strong and manly, such as showing no emotion because “to show affection was a sign of weakness” (28). Okonkwo supressed his emotion, except the emotion of anger and violence, as they are considered manly.
Childhood Experience
Furthermore, Okonkwo’s childhood experience helps to establish a stronger influence of the superego. Okonkwo’s father Unoka is considered as an “Agbala” (Achebe, 13) as he does not the things that is considered to be many such as titles and yams. Okonkwo “resented his father’s failure and weakness” (Achebe, 13) and does not want to be like him. This causes Okonkwo to follow the demands of the superego, letting it supress his id.
Freudian Slip
It is one of the three processes that can further analyze the unconcious mind. Throughout the book Okonkwo slips that reveals his is self. One instances is during the time when his second wife, Ikwefi, follows the Azenma and the priestess, and only during “his fourth trip that he had found Ekwefi, and [which] by then he had become gravely worried” (Achebe, 112). Okonkwo shows an emotion even though he claims that he is manly and he shows no emotion.

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