Homework Help

What do Ezinma's actions reveal about her in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe?

user profile pic

tempaccount2

Posted June 7, 2013 at 2:14 AM via iOS

dislike 0 like

What do Ezinma's actions reveal about her in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

cathibee | College Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted June 7, 2013 at 7:34 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Ezinma is the daughter of Ekwefi and Okonkwo in the novel Things Fall Apart. She is highly important to both her parents. For her mother, she is her only living offspring and therefore the most important thing in Ekwefi's life. Okonkwo shows favor towards his daughter, resulting in a deep bond between the two. Ezinma grows to understand her father's moods and passions like few others can. This results in both her parents regarding and treating her as an equal rather than a child or subordinate. Ezinma's actions echo the regard her parents have for her.

Because Ekwefi adores and spoils her, Ezinma develops a sense of unusual confidence. This is evident in the little secrets she shares with her mother, such as eating forbidden eggs together. This fuses the bond between mother and daughter while also providing a platform for nurturing Ezinma's somewhat "rebellious" nature in terms of her tribal traditions and her gender. Ezinma's confidence is nurtured sufficiently to transgress the traditional boundaries in the mother-daughter relationship. She calls her mother by her given name, for example, and asks Ekwefi questions that would not be tolerated by other mothers.

The confidence this relationship inspires brings Ezinma to a sense of unusual confidence within the tribe as well. This is what endears her to Okonkwo, who values only those traits displayed traditionally by male members of the tribe. Ezinma disregards such boundaries. She acts with "boyish" confidence, sits like a boy, and takes on tasks traditionally reserved for boys. 

One might therefore conclude that Ezinma's relationship with both her parents inspire highly nontraditional actions and traits in her. These, in turn, solidify the relationship she has with Ekwefi and Okonkwo. Perhaps one of the great ironies in the novel is the fact that, Ezinma ultimately chooses traditional tribal life. She returns from exile to marry and live a traditional Umuofia life with her husband.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes