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Manliness in Things Fall Aprt from Chinua Achebe In Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, it's immediately evident to the reader that Okonkwo, the protagonist of the narrative, is obsessed with manliness. His concern manifests itself in virtually every chapter. The story begins with a report on his success as a wrestler - a "manly" competition - and ends with his murder of this court messenger, another "manly" act. In every action and every decision he makes, Okonkwo is made to demonstrate he is masculine. It's powerful irony, then, the evidence of the novel indicates that Okonkwo is really a latent homosexual. To begin with, we ought to examine what is meant by the word "latent homosexual" The meaning of gay in this context is evident: Okonkwo is sexually attracted to other men. The adjective "latent," however, is vitally important: literally, it implies that Okonkwo's homosexuality is hidden, not just from the planet but also from himself. In other words, Okonkwo is strongly pushed towards men as sexual objects, but he isn't aware of those feelings, and penalizing them. Indeed, if anyone tried to tell Okonkwo he's gay, he'd be offended (and likely beat them up). According to the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, an integral facet of male homosexuality is hostility in women. It's clear from the publication that Okonkwo doesn't have affection for ladies. He treats his wives like servants, and there's no suggestion that he is drawn to them sexually. There's only one direct reference to sex in the publication, when at the end of Chapter Eleven, Ekwefi recalls her first sexual encounter with Okonkwo, when he "just carried her into the his bed and in the darkness began to feel about her waist to the loose...