How Does the Writer Create Tension and Convey Sympathy for Ikemefuna in This Passage from the Novel?

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How does the writer create tension and convey sympathy for Ikemefuna in this passage from the novel? In his novel, Things Fall Apart, Achebe interconnects and associates events that occur in Umuofia with emotions and feelings that hint at what is to come. A prime example of this is Achebe’s use of literary techniques in chapter seven, that create tension and convey sympathy for Ikemefuna and conclude in his tragic death. At the beginning of the novel, we find out that Ikemefuna has been given up to the Ibo tribe as a sacrificial compensation in order to prevent a war. Before the council has decided Ikemefuna’s fate, he is sent to live with Okonkwo’s family, and during the period of three years, Ikemefuna…show more content…
During the journey, a man tells the others to hurry up, and Achebe writes, “Thus the men of Umuofia pursued their way, armed with sheathed matchets, and Ikemefuna, carrying a pot of palmwine on his head, walked in their midst.” The necessity to quicken their pace seems to add a sense of urgency and stress upon everyone that has embarked on the journey, which is also another way that tension is created. Furthermore, the mention of matchets hints at Ikemefuna’s execution. Also, the way that Achebe contrasts Ikemefuna from the rest of the men also seems to express the doubt and uncertainty in Ikemefuna, which is opposite of the men, who already know what lies ahead. In the moments leading up to his death, Ikemefuna is overwhelmed with thoughts of death, although he tries to push them far out of his mind. Then Achebe shows Ikemefuna’s apprehension and fear by writing, “the man growled at him to go on and not stand looking back. The way he said it sent cold fear down Ikemefuna’s back…Why had Okonkwo withdrawn to the rear?”…And he was afraid to look back.” Furthermore, the reader feels an immense amount of sympathy because on page 52, Achebe describes the close bond Ikemefuna feels he shares with Okonkwo by writing, “Although he had felt uneasy at first, he was not afraid now. Okonkwo walked behind him. He could hardly imagine that Okonkwo was not his real father.” This shows the irony in the result of Ikemefuna’s death and Okonkwo’s role in dealing
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