How does Okonkwo's relationship with Ekwefi and Ezinma help develop his character in Things Fall Apart?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ekwefi was the village beauty. She left her husband to become the wife of Okonkwo. No doubt, this boosted Oknokwo's ego. He won Ekwefi's heart when he wrestled Amalinze the Cat and won the championship. Ekwefi and Okonkwo have an only child together, Ezinma. Ezinma is Okonkwo's favorite daughter. He has a tenderness for Ezinma that reveals Okonkwo is capable of showing his tender feelings. He becomes even gentle around Ezinma.

When Ezinma becomes sick, Okonkwo seeks the help of a medicine man. He goes to great lengths to see that Ezinma gets well. Okonkwo's tender emotions reveal that he has the ability to show love.

Ekwefi lives for Ezinma and Okonkwo knows this. He loves both Ekwefi and Ezinma. Ezinma understands him like no one else. He becomes emotional around Ezinma. He shares tender moments with her. He proves he has a heart around Ezinma.

Ezinma is bold in the way she approaches Okonkwo and he allows it. He shows her his attention, love and respect:

Ezinma alone seems to win Okonkwo’s full attention, affection, and, ironically, respect. She and he are kindred spirits, which boosts her confidence and precociousness.

Ezinma is the pride and joy of her parents. She manages to change Okonkwo into a caring man. He definitely has a softness when Ezinma is around:

Okonkwo favors his daughter, who is not only as beautiful as her mother once was, but who grows to understand her father and his moods as no one else does. Father and daughter form a special bond.

Okonkwo and Ekwefi treat Ezinma as their equal. She is favored and gets away with more things than the other children.

Okonkwo and Ekwefi treat Ezinma like she is their equal rather than their child. They permit her privileges that other family and tribal children are not granted.

Truly, Okonkwo adores Ezinma. He showers her with attention, love and respect. He mutters that she should have been born a boy because of her masculine traits:

Okonkwo's only regret towards Ezinma is that she is not a boy.

No doubt, Ekwefi and Ezinma have a way of touching Okonkwo. He shows his love for them in a special way. Ekwefi and Ezinma have a way of breaking down Okonkwo's tough exterior. He becomes tender and caring in their presence.

greywolf7red | Student

Efweki and Ezinma remind Okonkwo of how he has some feelings underneath all the harshness.