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Sympathetic and Unsympathetic Characters in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Decent Essays
In the novel, Things Fall Apart, written by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo is a sympathetic character and unsympathetic character in regards to his family relationships with his adopted son, Ikemefuna, his daughter, Ezima, and his father, Unoka, as a result of he appears to genuinely care about his family; but, the pride within himself prevents his expression of such pride and concern openly. The protagonist, Okonkwo demonstrates his sympathetic character solely to himself, personally, and infrequently not in the eyes of others. During the plotting of Ilemefuna’s death, Okonkwo was hesitant to make the boy aware of his fate and also hesitant to take part in his death. “‘I cannot understand why you refused to come with us to kill that boy,’ he…show more content…
Okonkwo also tries to show himself as an unsympathetic character to show that he is not a weak man, like his father, Unoka. (Being a weak man is a very degrading quality for the culture of Umofia.) An example of Okonkwo’s unsympathetic personality is Ikemefuna’s death. Although Okonkwo treasured the presence of the adopted buy, Ikemefuna, Okonkwo contributes the last and fatal blow to Ikemefuna, causing him to die in the Evil Forest. Okonkwo, regardless of his love for the boy, killed Ikemefuna ultimately to prove his manliness and strength to the tribe, a valued aspect of the culture. “Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body.” (Achebe 146) Okonkwo is also very unsympathetic in regards to his father, Unoka. Unoka was a poor man who was always in debt; he had an interest in music and enjoyed talking. “He [Unoka] was very good on his flute, and his happiest moments were the two or three moons after the harvest when the village musicians brought down their instruments, hung about the fire place. Unoka would play with them, his face beaming with blessedness and peace.”… “Unoka loved the good fare and good fellowship…”(Achebe 5) In order to not become like his father, Okonkwo consciously strives to be prosperous, violent, resourceful, unable to show “soft” emotion, and denies music orientation. “And no Okonkwo was ruled by one passion—to hate everything that his
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