Ikemefuna becomes the son Okwonko wants Nwoye to be. He comes to live with Okwonko from another tribe as a peace offering, and Ikemefuna quickly adjusts to his new surroundings. He participates in all of the village's activities and knows so much about so many things. He's well-liked, and Okwonko hopes Nwoye will learn how to be a good son by watching Ikemefuna. Ikemefuna enjoys doing all of the things Okwonko and the other men do, and he gives great joy to Okwonko.
Nwoye is nothing like Ikemefuna, and he enjoys his mother's company much more than his father's. Nwoye isn't into all the male traditions and activities of the village, and Okwonko is afraid he's going to be like Okwonko's father and embarrass him. Okwonko had to work very hard to undo the damage his father had caused to the family's reputation. His father was considered lazy, and Okwonko wanted to be sure that no one felt Okwonko was like his father. Nwoye even questions some of the ways of the tribe, and this is not acceptable at all. He's beaten by Okwonko for his "laziness", and this makes Nwoye pull even further away from the males of the village, especially his father. When Ikemefuna does come, he is good for Nwoye because Nwoye respects him. Because of this, Nwoye does try to spend more time with the men and participate in the male activities. After Ikemefuna's death, Nwoye is devastated.