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In Things Fall Apart Obierika's personality contrasts with and acts as a foil to the more distinctive and frequently unlikeable characteristics of Okonkwo's personality. Obierika is a man of reason and is a person who thinks before he acts unlike Okonkwo, who is choleric and impulsive and loath to listen to any advice. Obierika does not advocate the use of violence to get revenge against the British wheras Okonkwo does. Obierika is open-minded; he understands and appreciates the changing values and the foreign culture gaining a foothold in the Igbo traditions.
Many of the traditions of the Igbo are the cause of people turning to new ideas.
Okonkwo clings to these ideas as he fears change. Obierika is receptive to new ideas and willing to adapt to change, Okonkwo is narrow-minded unable to accept any change to traditional Igbo culture and beliefs.
Even though the personalities of Obierika and Okonkwo are very different, Obierika supports Okonkwo as a friend. He comforts him when he in mourning and depressed after Ikemefuna's death. He offers this support despite his disapproval of Okonkwo's role in Ikemefuna's murder. When Okonkwo goes into exile, Obierika sells Okonkwo's yams and seed-yams and gives Okonkwo the profits.
Unlike Okonkwo, Obierika questions the Igbo traditions and ritual, as well as their tribal law. He thinks that change may improve the Igbo society. Okonkwo's solution is to use violence against the British, Obierika, on the other hand, understands that rising up against the British will bring even further unhappiness and bloodshed. He comments that the white man "has put a knife on the things that have held us together and we have fallen apart."
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