Okonkwo And Nwoye Essay Outline

Essay On Okonkwo And Nwoye In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

Understanding Okonkwo and Nwoye in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart  

Two passages from the story Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, provide the reader with a more profound understanding of Okonkwo, and his son Nwoye.  The two do not have a good relationship and it becomes worse as the story progresses.   Throughout the book the two become increasingly distant and it is apparent that Okonkwo is very disappointed in his son.  After the death of Ikemefuna, Nwoye begins to question many aspects of his life, especially religion.  As the Christian missionaries spend more time with the members of the village, Nwoye becomes interested in this new religion.  The first passage I have chosen discusses Nwoye’s feelings about Christianity.

 “But there was a young lad who had been captivated.  His name was Nwoye,  Okonkwo’s first son.  It was not the mad logic of the Trinity that captivated him.   He did not understand it.  It was the poetry of the new religion, something felt in  the marrow.  The hymn about brothers who sat in the darkness and in fear seemed  to answer a vague and persistent question that haunted his young soul - the  question of the twins crying in the bush and the questions of Ikemefuna who was  killed.  He felt a relief within as the hymn poured into his parched soul.  The words  panting earth.  Nwoye’s callow mind was greatly puzzled (147).”

     This passage shows the reader that Nwoye is extremely different from many members of his family and the other members of the village.  After Okonkwo learns that his son is interested in the new religion he is furious.  Okonkwo has always been disappointed in his son.  He believes that Nwoye is not as strong as a man of their clan should be.  When Okonkwo was Nwoye’s age he was already involved in wrestling competitions.  Okonkwo had hoped that his son would follow in his footsteps.  However, Nwoye shows no interest in the things that his father is interested in.  The second passage I have chosen better explains the feelings that Okonkwo has for his son.

 “As Okonkwo sat in his hut that night, gazing into a log fire, he thought over the  matter.  A sudden fury rose within him and he felt a strong desire to take up his a machete, go to the church and wipe out the entire miscreant gang.  But on further  thought he told himself that Nwoye was not worth fighting for.  Why should he ,  Okonkwo, of all people, be cursed with such a son?  He saw clearly in it the finger  of his personal god or chi.  For how else could explain his great misfortune and  exile and now his despicable son’s behavior?  Now that he had time to think of it,  his son’s crime stood out in its stark enormity.  To abandon the gods of one’s   father and go about with a lot of effeminate men clucking about like old hens was  the very depth of abomination.  Suppose when he died all his male children decided  to follow Nwoye’s steps and abandon their ancestors?  Okonkwo felt a cold  shudder run through at the terrible...

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Below you will find three outstanding thesis statements / paper topics for “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe that can be used as essay starters. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in “Things Fall Apart” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements for “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe offer a short summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay. Before you begin, however, please get some useful tips and hints abouthow to use PaperStarter.comin the brief User's Guide…you'll be glad you did.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Tragic Hero and “Things Fall Apart” as a Tragedy

“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe follows the classic model of a tragedy and can be compared to several works, particularly works from antiquity such as Oedipus the King and stories from Shakespeare such as Macbeth and Hamlet. One of the reasons why this is a tragedy and can be related to so many other tragic works is because the main character, Okonkwo, fits the classic example of a tragic hero. A tragic hero is, by short definition, someone who falls because of a tragic flaw and not necessarily because he is a “bad” or evil person. For this essay, do a character analysis of Okonkwo and map the ways he is a tragic character. For help with this essay, you might want to look back to other works or find ways Okonkwo has good intentions but because of his flaws (pride, anger, etc) cannot see a positive resolution to his troubles. For more assistance with this topic, check out this article on the tragic nature of Okonkwo compared to another tragic character from literature, Oedipus.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: The Importance of Customs and Traditions in “Things Fall Apart”

Throughout “Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the role of customs and traditions is incredibly important and decides the fate of men, women, and children. Some of the customs practiced in this culture would certainly be frowned upon in the West yet are perfectly acceptable. For instance, the idea that a child should be murdered or that the spirits of the dead must be appeased can have grave consequences for some characters. For this essay, examine the role of customs and traditions in “Things Fall Apart” and consider why these might be important to this culture (for instance, think about how they all have to do with the natural world and natural forces—appropriate since they live in the open and are prone to threats). Furthermore, this essay might also want to integrate how these customs changed after the whites and colonialism came. For an essay that changes this theme slightly, you might also want to consider the question of whether the customs and traditions of Igbo society do more harm than good. If you follow this route for an essay, remember not to be ethnocentric and not make value judgments on their beliefs, instead just examine if such customs cause more problems than they solve using the text (not fully opinions) as your support.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Role of the Supernatural in “Things Fall Apart”

While themes stemming from the influence of the supernatural can be connected to the above essay topic for “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, an essay could quite easily be developed along the lines of the importance of the supernatural. A good thesis statement for this essay would state that matters related to the supernatural world drive the action of the plot throughout “Things Fall Apart.” This is not just because of the practices and beliefs of the Igbo society, but also those that the white man brings with him. Throughout “Things Fall Apart” there is a tension between what the supernatural world means and the differences in viewpoints on this matter are the prime source of conflict outside of issues stemming from Okonkwo's character flaws. For this essay, you will want to find examples of differences in opinion on supernatural matters and how this tears the community apart. For this essay, don't just concentrate on sections after the arrival of the white missionaries, look at hints of this theme before that, such as differences in opinion on tribal beliefs and customs. Also consider the differences between even like-minded men such as Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith.

Other ideas for thesis statements on “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe can be gleaned by reading the following openly accessible articles : Women, Colonization & Cultural Change in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe • History, Narrative and Culture in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe • Comparison of Tragic Characters in Things Fall Apart and Oedipus the King •

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