Things Fall Apart



Okonkwo’s father does not fill many pages of the novel, but his presence is always nearby. In a way, he haunts nearly all of the actions of Okonkwo (whether he is clearing the land so as to harvest a bigger crop to prove himself different from his father, or fighting in a war to prove that he is not afraid of blood, or gaining titles to prove that he is successful and someone to be respected). Okonkwo’s thoughts constantly turn back to Unoka.

Still, Unoka may not be as fairly represented by Okonkwo as one might expect. Unoka, like his son, certainly had his faults. He is very much a coward in one respect (but then, so is Okonkwo when it comes to fearing what other men might think of him). On the other hand, Unoka did not bear the burden of dignity the way that his son does. Unoka was content to go begging. He complained to the oracle of his bad luck, but when the Oracle told him to go home and be a man, he certainly did not take the Oracle’s advice. Still, Unoka was not a man without friends, and for all of his failures, there were those who still loved him for his gentleness and his musical gifts. Unoka, in a sense, is a dreamer—the opposite of Okonkwo, the doer.

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Essays About Things Fall Apart