How does Achebe show contrast between Okonkwo and Nwoye in Things Fall Apart?
Okonkwo is identified always in masculine terms, often connected with violence and strength. Nwoye is described in more musical terms, & Achebe often uses figurative language such as similes and metaphors to characterize Nwoye. Okonkwo likes stories of bloodshed and war, while Nowye prefers his mother's myths and fables. When seen through Okonkwo's eyes, he is described as "weak", "womanly", and "lazy". Conversely, Nwoye is terrified of his father while growing up. When Ikemefuna comes to stay, Nwoye transforms, eager to please his father and emulate his new brother.
In a way, Ikemefuna's death is a turning point for both father and son. Okonkwo is haunted by his act, & suffers moments of doubt. Nwoye is forever turned away from the tribe, & is more susceptible to the missionaries when they arrive. He responds to their message of love and acceptance, which is something he cannot find with his family or the tribe. The rituals, such as throwing twins in the forest to die, are heartbreaking to him, and he is unable to see the purpose behind it. He sees only inhuman cruelty. Thus, the missionaries offer an alternative to what he's always known.
Okonkwo, however, sees the missionaries as intruders, slowly destroying the tribe. He holds the rituals and culture of the tribe in the utmost regard; hence his overwhelming desire for Nwoye to prove a man. He responds to the missionaries' actions with violence, but receives little to no support from the tribe. He feels as though his world is being replaced by one of womanliness and weakness, which is the greatest crime he could imagine.