Parental Relationships in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood

Parental Relationships in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood

Length: 1805 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Parental Relationships in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood


Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, and Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood, are two novels that emphasize the complexities of relationships between parents and their children. In Achebe’s story, the protagonist of the novel, Okonkwo, has distant relationships with his children (particularly Nwoye and Ezinma) because their father sees them as inadequate in many ways. Okonkwo has high expectations of his children, especially Nwoye, his eldest son and often finds fault in almost everything he does. Okonkwo resents the fact that the child he feels has the most promise is his daughter Ezinma. Her strength of character is everything he has ever wanted in a son. In Emecheta’s story, Nnu Ego, the protagonist of the novel, dedicates her life to working for the health and happiness of her children. Unlike Okonkwo’s situation, Nnu Ego’s children do not try to seek her approval. In fact, her children, namely Oshia and Adim, are not appreciative of all the sacrifices she has made for them and even blame her for the family’s misfortunes. Things Fall Apart and The Joys of Motherhood are two telling stories that demonstrate the differing relationships parents and their children can have. One story, shows a father whose children can never meet up to his standards, although the children unsuccessfully strive for his praise. The other story displays a mother whose unappreciative children do not try to seek their mother’s approval, even though she strives to please them in the best way she knows how.

Okonkwo is the type of man that has had to work for everything that he has attained in life. His father left him...


... middle of paper ...


... children. Her children do not fully understand nor do they appreciate their mother as much as they should, because as hard as life was for them, Nnu Ego is the reason they are alive. On the other side of the spectrum is Okonkwo, the main character from Things Fall Apart. He is not the type of father who is very caring of his children. In fact, Okonkwo’s only worry for them is that they live up to his expectations. Okonkwo’s children try to please their father but a man of such impossible and illogical standards can never be satisfied. Whether a relationship between parents and children is one of love, struggle, or expectation, the truth remains that no bond is ever perfect.

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart . Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1958.

Emecheta, Buchi. The Joys of Motherhood. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1979.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »