How do Uchendus' life and character impact upon the character of Okonkwo

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Part II of Things Fall Apart, Uchendu, Okonkwo's uncle (his mother's brother) from Mbanta symbolizes the emasculated and effeminate male--a sharp contrast to the violent, uber-masculine culture of Umuofia to which Okonkwo belongs.  As such, he is a foil for our tragic hero.

Before Okonkwo's exile, Uchendu had agreed that the villagers of Abame were foolish to kill the white man, especially since the villagers knew nothing about him.  This shows that both are in accord as to village foreign policy and are aware of the future retaliations by white colonists.  However, they will differ significantly once the British threaten the core of tribal culture: Uchendu will remain passive, while Okonkwo will react violently.

After Okonkwo's exile, Uchendu says that "Mother is Supreme."  His advice to Okonkwo is to comfort his wives and children when he returns from Mbanta.  Even though Uchendu is a wise old man, Okonkwo is inwardly infuriated by his advice because he and his mother's tribesmen are weak and remind Okonkwo of his agbala (titleless) father Unoka and his hyper-sensitive son Nwoye.


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Things Fall Apart

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