Sometimes Doing What Is Right Is Not What Is Socially Acceptable

Doing what is right in society is beneficial not only on a personal level but also to society. I have been brought up in such a way that I have been taught that doing the right thing helps avoid various challenges in life and avoid conflicts. I firmly believe that doing the right thing benefits me and my classmates, and the entire school. Throughout the novel, things fall apart; Okonkwo and the villagers do something that, according to them, is right but is not what is socially acceptable. In the story, Okonkwo is exhibited as the fiercest warrior in the village. He is also one of the wealthy men in his land, having three wives and a huge stock of wine. He is also worried about his son, who he thinks is lazy and useless. However, he does not treat his family well because the only emotion he displays is his anger. He is also worried about his son, who he thinks is lazy and useless.  His understanding of doing the right thing is different from the social expectations of society.  In the novel, we realize that sometimes doing what is right is not what is socially acceptable.

Sometimes doing what is right is not what is socially acceptable, especially when adopting new changes in the community. The novel things fall apart reveals a community that is on the verge of change. The story exhibits how a change in society affects different characters in distinct ways making the community develops many questions on whether adopting the change is right. “The arrival of the missionaries had caused a considerable stir in the village of Mbanta”(Chinua 144). The arrival of missionaries in the land brought new religion and political orders to benefit the local people. The primary goal was to enable them to adopt new ways of life and incorporate the first world culture into their system. Despite the change being geared towards benefiting the community, Okonkwo rejects the new governance and divinity orders because he thinks it was the right thing to do, but it was not socially acceptable. He also feels that consenting to the new changes would insult his masculinity. He rejects the change because he feels he may lose his social status, which was socially unacceptable. The traditional standards and how society perceives him are what give Okonkwo a sense of worth. The author reveals that in the Igbo community, people had commenced conceding to the external influence. “These outcasts, or osu, seeing that the new religion welcomed twins and such abominations, thought that it was possible that they would also be received”(Chinua 155). The outcast members of the clan that nobody wanted to get associated with joined the new religion and realize that it is self-evaluating and inspiring. To these people, adopting the new religion was the right thing to do; however, it was not socially acceptable to the other villagers because it would be the source of division in the community .“But stories were already gaining ground that the white man had not only brought a religion but also a government”(Chinua 155). Some villagers feel that incorporation of the external political and religion orders will erode their prestigious culture. At the same time, the new converts are seen enjoying uplifted status in society and the numerous opportunities that have come along with the missionaries.

Additionally, sometimes doing what is right is not what is socially acceptable when a person is trying to rise in a discriminating community. In the poem, the rose from concrete grew from concrete; the author shows how he did the right thing to change his life, but it was not socially acceptable in his society “Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete”(Shakur, line 1-2). He was brought up in a community that looked down upon African Americas. Therefore, getting the right education was the right thing. Still, it was not socially acceptable because the white people believed that African Americans were not supposed to get any education. The primary purpose of preventing their prosperity education-wise was to prevent them from getting elector positions in the government. Therefore, they would continue using them as slaves, which was socially unacceptable. The author also talks about walking without feet, meaning despite him trying to struggle and work his way up, society still felt it was not the right thing; hence nobody supported him “learned to walk with out having feet”(Shakur, line 4).  Sometimes, living in poor conditions and trying to change the situation despite the challenging surroundings that may hinder it is hard.  The author was brought up in the ghetto where the living conditions are challenging “Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air” (Shakur, line 4-5). It is difficult for them to get government support since they are the minority. Even if it is for the right reason, getting any support from the government is socially unacceptable because white supremacy feared competition from the blacks. Despite that, the author succeeds in a challenging environment and encourages people to do what is right regardless of their challenges. His dreams help him breathe fresh despite the social challenges faced.


Sometimes doing what is right is not what is socially acceptable. Okonkwo never respected his father because he was poor and not aggressive like him. Okonkwo’s relationship with his father shapes his life to a violent and progressive attitude. “Okonkwo had clearly washed his hands, and so he ate with kings and elders” (Chinua 8). This shows that Okonkwo was ambitious and a person that had a positive drive that enabled him to succeed and become respected in his clan. Being ambitious is the right thing to do, but violence is not socially acceptable. Even though he intends to live beyond his father’s legacy, considering him effeminate and weak is not socially acceptable because he cannot cease being his father even after he dies. He was a man that died and left many debts. He owed almost everyone in the village. Unlike his son, he was a poor man, and the author describes him as tall but very thin. “He was poor, and his wife and children had barely enough to eat” (Chinua 5). He rarely got money, and once he did, he would spend it on palm wine and call his neighbors to celebrate. Okonkwo feels that aggression should be a sign of masculinity; therefore, he believes the only emotion a man should reveal is anger. “To show affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength” (Chinua 28). Due to this, he often beats his wives and even threatens to kill them, which is socially wrong. Notably, missionaries tried to help the clan adopt new ways of doing things that would benefit them. We see Okonkwo acting in a rash and impetuously, which is not right because other people in the clan are not effeminate but are always trying to act right.

Sometimes doing what is right is not what is socially acceptable; traditionally, disputes were settled based on the right rules of the land; however, murder is not socially acceptable, as shown when Okonkwo participates in the murder of Ikemefuna, who was his stepson. “My father, they have killed me!” as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down” (Chinua 61). The characters of the Igbo community are struggling with ineffective governance and a justice system.  Okonkwo kills his son to show people that he is not weak. They also demand a virgin from a tribe that they had conflicts with to settle the misunderstanding. Obierika is a thoughtful man who chooses the right thing by warning Okonkwo not to participate in the murder of Ikefemuna; he also refuses to follow him to the scene. Okonkwo leads in the party meant to execute his proxy son and violently stabs him on the chest because he fears that people may perceive he is weak. This activity was right but socially unacceptable, and it worsened his relationship with his blood son. Moreover, Okonkwo’s exile from the village does not make him do what is right. He lives with his motherland king’s men and feels aggravated all through. “He is an exile, condemned for seven years to live in a strange land” (Chinua 133). The exile was an opportunity for him to interact with his womanly side and to concede to his maternal forefathers. However, he constantly reminds himself that his mother’s ancestors are not fierce or even aggressive. He even accuses them of their love for negotiation, compliance, and avoiding bloodshed. His maternal ancestors are doing what is right, but to Okonkwo, that is not socially acceptable. Some community members accept the new culture because they feel it is right, but it brings division in the clan, revealing it is not socially acceptable. “But stories were already gaining ground that the white man had not only brought a religion but also a government” (Chinua 155).  The people of the Igbo clan are struggling with division in the community after the introduction of new religious and political orders. Transformations from one culture to another are the right thing, primarily if it benefits the people. However, it may not be socially acceptable.

Sometimes doing what is right is not what is socially acceptable; the novel reveals progressive social transformations that the people are experiencing. However, various people, especially Okonkwo, are not happy with the new order of things introduced by the missionaries. “The arrival of the missionaries had caused a considerable stir in the village of Mbanta” (Chinua 144). Some of them are caught in between accepting the new ways of sticking to the old ones. They fear that if they accept the new one, they may lose their culture. After the return of Okonkwo from exile, he kills one of the British messenger, and the silence that people exhibit indicates that they are ready for the new ways. When the missionaries came accepting their way of life may have been the right thing due to the benefits that accrued with it. Still, it was not socially acceptable because it led to social disintegration. “The missionaries had come to Umuofia. They had built their church there, won a handful of converts and were already sending evangelists to the surrounding towns and villages” (Chinua 143). The novel shows how disintegrations started and the formation of new setups in the community after the arrival of Mr. Brown. “It is already too late,” said Obierika sadly. “Our own men and our sons have joined the ranks of the stranger” (Chinua 176). The entire society’s fabric fell apart after accepting the British political and religious order. The foreign culture invaded and eroded the values and norms of the Igbo people. The erosion of their cultural values and beliefs pushed Okonkwo to kill the British messenger. Free will is essential in every person’s life because they can choose between right and wrong. It is a way by which a person can control his destiny, like what happened to Okonkwo. However, to some extent, it may not be socially acceptable. In the novel, Okonkwo utilizes his independence but cannot be in control of his life, and fate sends him to exile.

In conclusion, doing what is right is not always what is socially acceptable because we see the Igbo people accepting the British political and religious order. They end up losing their values and culture. Okonkwo’s hard work makes him dine with the elders. Similarly, after the arrival of missionaries, disintegrations in the community commenced due to the conversion of some people. The activity annoys Okonkwo making him murder a British messenger.

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