Things Fall Apart


Cast of Characters

Okonkwo—The main character of the novel. He may be said to be the hero, but he is not technically a heroic character. He is, rather, a realistic depiction of a proud and action-oriented man of a native tribe in Nigeria. His overwhelming motive in life is a fear of failure, of becoming like his father. When the white men arrive, he tries to resist them, but is unsupported by the rest of the tribe. His attempt at war fails, and he hangs himself.

Unoka—Okonkwo’s father. He is a lazy but gentle man whose sole ambition in life is to relax and play music. His crops always fail, and he is eternally in debt. Still, he has friends, even though many mock him. He is a constant source of humiliation for Okonkwo, who strives to be his exact opposite. Ironically, both come to bad ends: Unoka is carried off to the Evil Forest, and Okonkwo (in an act of abomination) takes his own life.

Nwoye—Nwoye is Okonkwo’s son. He is not very much like his father, who is much too strict with him. Nwoye is drawn to the religion of the missionaries because it speaks to something better and higher in himself. He is, however, a complete disappointment to Okonkwo, who considers him womanlike. Both Nwoye and Okonkwo ultimately reject one another.

Ikemefuna—He is a boy who is sacrificed to the Umuofia clan after his tribe kills the wife of a man in Umuofia. For three years he lives with Okonkwo and becomes fast friends with Nwoye. Okonkwo himself is very fond of the boy. When the Oracle declares that it is time for the boy to be killed, however, Okonkwo does not resist cutting him down with his machete. His death haunts Okonkwo and is a great impetus in turning Nwoye away from his father.

Obierika—He is Okonkwo’s loyal friend. He watches after his yams while Okonkwo is in exile. He also visits Okonkwo while the latter is living in his motherland, and is the first one to speak of the appearance of the white man. He is the one who reveals...

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