Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Like Father, Like Son

Today I realized one of the greatest ironies of Things Fall Apart. Both Okonkwo and Nwoye despised their respective fathers and strove to be the opposite. I think it is interesting that both Okonkwo and his father were such extremes that their sons choose to be different. The irony here is that Nwoye, in striving to be different from his father, is exactly like Okonkwo. However even though Okonkwo's father and Nwoye are opposites of Okonkwo they are nothing like each other. Okonkwo's father seemed to just be lazy while Nwoye was proactive on his beliefs.


sara pendleton said...

That's really interesting. Also, Okonkwo, who wants to be nothing like his fater, also ends up exactly like him. Okonkwo's suicide is considered an abomination, he cannot have a warriors burial and he cannot die with honor. In this way, he is just like his father who died of something that sounded a lot like beri beri (dunno though) where his limbs started swelling. That sickness was considered an abomination to the earth goddess so he was left to die in the forest. Both father and son died with dishonor even though this fate was exactly the thing that Okonkwo was trying to avoid. Father and son are two very diffrent people, the way Okonkwo and his son are very diffrent, but in some ways they are the same: in death Okonkwo becomes like his father, and in life, Oknokwo's son tries not to be his father - just like his father.

christine said...

I wouldn’t necessarily say that both despised their father and strove to be the opposite. Yes, this is true in Okonkwo’s case but I feel like Nwoye truly respected his father. When growing up, he tried to be the son that his father always wanted but as he grew older, he came to realize that that wasn’t what he truly wanted. Okonkwo always wanted to be different from his father but that wasn’t what Nwoye always wanted. He simply waited to find himself and then acted on it.

Mallory said...

That is interesting Shaina. I didnt even make that connection. I feel like nwoye resented his father after he killed ikmefuna. Okonkwo hated his father because he thought he was a failure but both use their fathers as motivation in life.