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 ...
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... clansmen, his ancestors, and worst of all himself.
In the beginning of the story, Okonkwo’s relationship with his son was strained. Toward the end of the story, Nwoye has left is his family and will never see his father again. The elders of the village put much emphasis on family life and helping fellow clansmen. Okonkwo’s family life had increasingly gone downhill as the story progressed. This book can be related to any family, even though it was written in a different time and place. Family problems affect everyone and this story shows the reader how certain problems are dealt with. I don’t believe, however, that Okonkwo’s family took care of their problems in a productive manner. With better communication, Nwoye’s leaving and Okonkwo’s death may have been prevented.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Oxford: Heinemann, 1986.
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