Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ikemefuna and Nwyoe

I'd like to compare the two characters Ikemefuna and Nwyoe in their "manliness". I find it highly ironic that Okonkwo is critical of Nwyoe for his "femininity" when Ikemefuna seems to have similar feelings. Nwyoe enjoys hearing his mother's stories and helping her out with different tasks. Achebe gives us insight into Ikemefuna's feelings and emotions when he narrates how Ikemefuna thinks about his mother and sister a lot, back in his village. So in a way, I feel that Ikemefuna are quite similar, except for the fact that Ikemefuna does make it openly known that he thinks about his mother and sister. Okonkwo criticizes Nwyoe, but not Ikemefuna and sees Ikemefuna as a better son, even though he is not his real son. So I think it's wrong that Okonkwo criticizes Nwoye when Nwyoe will probably grow up to be a more well-rounded man than Okonkwo, as he does have a soft, caring side and big heart (as he mourns Ikemefuna's death). He will not try to show his masculinity with beating women and will probably have a loving, tightly family when he is older.


Linz A said...

I think, in Okonkwo's perspective, it's not about how well-rounded his son will grow up to be, but how manly. Perhaps in our society, Nwoye would grow up to be the more well-rounded man. But in Okonkwo's perspective, and, I think the Igbo perspective (though to a lesser degree), Nwoye's display of "feminine" qualities portrays him as weak.

Madeline Davis said...

I find that relationship interesting as well. I think it might have something to do with the fact that Ikemefuna isn't Okonkwo's real son. It seems that Okonkwo has unrealistically high expectations of masculinity for Nwoye because, as his father, Okonkwo wants Nwoye to be just like him. Okonkwo despised his own father for his laziness, so he aspired to be the opposite of him. It seems that Okonkwo feels he has set a good example for Nwoye as the height of masculinity so he thinks Nwoye would and should want to be just like him, but he's not living up to Okonkwo's expectations.

TSHAH said...

Okonkwo's need for male superiority and obsession for control stems from his father being described as feminine. It is clear that Okonkwo's character has been shaped from his father and who he does not want to become. In my opinion, Okonkwo is much more critical of Nwoye because he does not want to present himself as a weak paternal figure similar to the way that his father was for him. Okonkwo is subconsciously attempting to prevent his son from feeling the same way that he did about his father, and thus Okonkwo has a great desire to push his son, as any father would.