Okonkwo And Nwoye Essay Checker

Essay On Okonkwo And Nwoye In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

Understanding Okonkwo and Nwoye in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart  

Two passages from the story Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, provide the reader with a more profound understanding of Okonkwo, and his son Nwoye.  The two do not have a good relationship and it becomes worse as the story progresses.   Throughout the book the two become increasingly distant and it is apparent that Okonkwo is very disappointed in his son.  After the death of Ikemefuna, Nwoye begins to question many aspects of his life, especially religion.  As the Christian missionaries spend more time with the members of the village, Nwoye becomes interested in this new religion.  The first passage I have chosen discusses Nwoye’s feelings about Christianity.

 “But there was a young lad who had been captivated.  His name was Nwoye,  Okonkwo’s first son.  It was not the mad logic of the Trinity that captivated him.   He did not understand it.  It was the poetry of the new religion, something felt in  the marrow.  The hymn about brothers who sat in the darkness and in fear seemed  to answer a vague and persistent question that haunted his young soul - the  question of the twins crying in the bush and the questions of Ikemefuna who was  killed.  He felt a relief within as the hymn poured into his parched soul.  The words  panting earth.  Nwoye’s callow mind was greatly puzzled (147).”

     This passage shows the reader that Nwoye is extremely different from many members of his family and the other members of the village.  After Okonkwo learns that his son is interested in the new religion he is furious.  Okonkwo has always been disappointed in his son.  He believes that Nwoye is not as strong as a man of their clan should be.  When Okonkwo was Nwoye’s age he was already involved in wrestling competitions.  Okonkwo had hoped that his son would follow in his footsteps.  However, Nwoye shows no interest in the things that his father is interested in.  The second passage I have chosen better explains the feelings that Okonkwo has for his son.

 “As Okonkwo sat in his hut that night, gazing into a log fire, he thought over the  matter.  A sudden fury rose within him and he felt a strong desire to take up his a machete, go to the church and wipe out the entire miscreant gang.  But on further  thought he told himself that Nwoye was not worth fighting for.  Why should he ,  Okonkwo, of all people, be cursed with such a son?  He saw clearly in it the finger  of his personal god or chi.  For how else could explain his great misfortune and  exile and now his despicable son’s behavior?  Now that he had time to think of it,  his son’s crime stood out in its stark enormity.  To abandon the gods of one’s   father and go about with a lot of effeminate men clucking about like old hens was  the very depth of abomination.  Suppose when he died all his male children decided  to follow Nwoye’s steps and abandon their ancestors?  Okonkwo felt a cold  shudder run through at the terrible...

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Things Fall Apart Father/Son Dynamic

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Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, illustrates several relationships between parents and their children. In most of these relationships, conflict arises that separates the two individuals and creates discord. In creating such a conflict between Okonkwo and Unoka, as well as between Okonkwo and Nwoye, Achebe creates a much deeper and accessible piece of literature. Unoka, Okonkwo’s father, is depicted as a weak, unmotivated, and lazy figure. Okonwo, on the other hand, is a zealous, hard-working man who has great aspirations.

Naturally, the two men clash and cannot create a harmonious symbiosis. Okonkwo grows to hate his father since his neglect to function and provide for his family forced the burden of responsibility on Okonkwo’s shoulders. He also considers his father an embarrassment because he never takes any titles in the tribe and he continually mooches off others with no intentions of repaying them. As a young man, Okonkwo looked down upon his father for his irresoluteness and carefree nature and he seeks to be everything his father was not: strong, stoic, powerful — the epitome of “manliness. The conflict between Okonkwo and Unoka shapes the man that Okonkwo becomes, thereby explaining the reason for Okonkwo’s overwhelming fears of failure and of appearing weak and effeminate. It allows the reader to better understand Okonkwo’s reprehensible actions in the novel, such as when he kills his adopted son Ikemefuna and when he denounces his eldest son Nwoye. Since Okonkwo is the protagonist of Things Fall Apart, the reasoning behind his defining character traits contributes to the overall depth of the novel.

His every interaction becomes more profound once Achebe establishes that Okonkwo’s every action is based upon being the antithesis of his father. Similar to how Okonkwo came to despise his father for his inherent characteristics, Nwoye begins to loathe Okonkwo. He sees his father as being too unyielding, too strong, and so he starts to fear him. The bitterness that Nowye has for his father is reflective of Okonkwo’s own fear that he will become like Unoka. The conflict between Nwoye and Okonkwo is reminiscent of that of his grandfather and father, although the roles are reversed.

It contributes to the overall meaning of the book by showing the path Okonkwo has taken. He has come full circle. Despite his reluctance to appear even remotely similar to this father, he has become the same by estranging his son. The juxtaposition of these three men creates deeper levels and greater stories than just that of Okonkwo. It shows the past and future lineage of the protagonist, while establishing the outlook on relationships that Okonkwo tragically possesses.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart Father/Son Dynamic

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