Compare and contrast Okonkwo and Unoka (Things fall apart - Chinua Achebe)

2116 Words Feb 8th, 2010 9 Pages
Things fall apart, written by Chinua Achebe, has a proverb like this: When the mother-cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth. The proverb shows that a child will have his behavior like his parents. However, when the child does not respect the parents, he will rebel and do everything opposite to his parents. For instance in this same novel, Okonkwo has showed no respect for his father, Unoka, who is a failure. Hence, he does his best to behave and act nothing like his father, which lead to the contrast between Okonkwo and Unoka in their characters.

Firstly, let us consider their childhoods. We can see from Unokas memory: He would remember his own childhood, how he had often wandered around looking for a kite sailing leisurely,
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During the planting season Okonkwo worked daily on his farms from cock-crow until the chickens went to roost. This shows that he works with enthusiastic and he hardly becomes exhausted. He had told Nwakibie: I am not afraid of work and he really does. Okonkwo had begun to sow with the first rains; he watched the sky all day for signs of rain-clouds and lay wake all night; he had tried to protect them by making rings of thick sisal leaves and he changed them every day and prayed. all day, all night and everyday shows his determination and perseverance in order to save the yams. In addition, when it is the Feast of the New Yam, it says that he was always uncomfortable sitting around for days waiting for a feast or getting over it, he would be much happier working on his farm. This proves his joy to work.

Although Unoka is being lazy, he still has something that Okonkwo does not have, gentleness, a feminine trait that Okonkwo hates. This can be seen from his despite war. Unoka was never happy when it came to wars. He was in fact a coward and could not bear the sight of blood. We can see that he is a gentle man as he hate to see blood, because when there is blood there must be injured people. He cannot be happy about wars because they bring death to the clan. Another piece of evidence for his gentleness is that he consoles Okonkwo. Unoka said: Do not despair. I know you will not despair. You have a manly and a proud heart. A

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