How Does the Writer Create Tension and Convey Sympathy for Ikemefuna in This Passage from the Novel?

Topics: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, Igbo people Pages: 3 (1240 words) Published: October 5, 2011
How does the writer create tension and convey sympathy for Ikemefuna in this passage from the novel?  
            In his novel, Things Fall Apart, Achebe interconnects and associates events that occur in Umuofia with emotions and feelings that hint at what is to come. A prime example of this is Achebe’s use of literary techniques in chapter seven, that create tension and convey sympathy for Ikemefuna and conclude in his tragic death.             At the beginning of the novel, we find out that Ikemefuna has been given up to the Ibo tribe as a sacrificial compensation in order to prevent a war. Before the council has decided Ikemefuna’s fate, he is sent to live with Okonkwo’s family, and during the period of three years, Ikemefuna settles in and even difficult Okonkwo has come to fondly view him as his surrogate son.             As chapter seven opens, Achebe describes Okonkwo’s household in a manner portrays the benefits of Ikemefuna’s arrival in the family. The family has grown to accept him, particularly Nwoye and Okonkwo himself. The tone is cheerful and everything seems to be going perfectly. Another detail that Achebe has added is the unexpected arrival of locusts, which bring excitement and joy along with them into the village. On page 49, Achebe writes, “For although the locust had not visited Umuofia for many years, everybody knew by instinct that they were very good to eat. They settled on every tree and on every blade of grass; they settled on the roofs and covered the bare ground. Mighty tree branches broke away under them, and the whole country became the brown-earth colour of the vast, hungry swarm.” Although the descent of locusts initially indicates good fortune, the immense number of the locusts ends up breaking even the strongest trees. It is as if Achebe is hinting that too much of a good thing can only end up in misfortune, which could also relate to Ikemefuna’s presence in Okonkwo’s household. During his stay, Ikemefuna brought...
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