1. Think about the role of weather in the novel. How does it work, symbolically or otherwise, in relation to important elements of the novel such as religion? Are rain and draught significant? Explore the ways in which weather affects the emotional and spiritual realms of the novel as well as the physical world.
2. Women suffer great losses in this novel but also, in certain circumstances, hold tremendous power. What role do women play in Okonkwo’s life? Is there any difference between his interaction with specific women and his understanding of women and femininity in general?
3. Animal imagery abounds in the folktales and proverbs circulated among the clan members. What is the significance of some of the animals they discuss? What does the prominence of animal figures suggest about Igbo culture and about Achebe’s larger goals?
4. In what ways does the idea of progress shape the novel? If Unoka, Okonkwo, and Nwoye are symbolic of three successive generations, how does society in Umuofia change over the course of their lifetimes? Where does Ikemefuna fit into this picture?
5. Throughout the novel, drums, music, and the town crier’s voice punctuate the narrative at key moments. When does silence occur and what does it mean? Is there more than one type of silence? Can silence be characterized as a positive or negative occurrence? What are the implications of the fact that Unoka takes his flute with him to the Evil Forest when he dies?
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Things Fall Apart (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)
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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