I need to compare and contrast Unoka, Okonkwo and Nwoye as far as the idea of PROGRESS is concernedI have a good idea how these three differ in character  - but I'm not sure how to incorporate...

I need to compare and contrast Unoka, Okonkwo and Nwoye as far as the idea of PROGRESS is concerned

I have a good idea how these three differ in character  - but I'm not sure how to incorporate the second part of the question "idea as far as PROGRESS is concerned."

Asked on by lesleyrsa

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I feel like the idea of progress in this novel is a philosophical concern that would depend on your interpretation of the novel's theme. In my view, whatever progress there is for any of these characters is on a very basic level - for example, how to grow more yams. A major theme is the culture clash between the whites and the natives, so what do you define as progress? Becoming more civilized? Becoming more like the whites? If this is your definition of progress, then Nwoye would really be the only one that makes any moves towards this, because he rejects his tribe . In his life, the Ibo tribe has not been able to provide any answers for him. He is more like his grandfather, Unoka, who preferred stories and human fellowship to war. This is why he joins the Christians. From the viewpoint of Ibo tradition, however, is this considered progress? That is the bigger question the novel poses. What actually IS progress? Does it mean coming out of the dark ages and accepting the ways of a different, more advanced culture? If so, are we not defining progress in an ethnocentric way?

The Ibo way of life with its tribal customs and traditions is falling apart in the midst of colonization. From a western point of view then, Unoka and Oknokwo are stubborn and resistant to the so-called "progress". Nwoye joins the Christians and the whites, so he is moving on, but is it making progress to reject one's culture?

These are rhetorical questions, I think, that perhaps you must answer first, before you proceed with your compare and contrast.

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