Among the various patterns of father-son relationships that emerge in fiction and in real life, perhaps the most destructive is that in which the son so detests his father that he devotes his life to assiduously avoiding his father's mistakes. To do this is virtually to ensure that he will make his grandfather's mistakes, while actuating his son to make his father's mistakes: a two generation pattern of dysfunction that can continue indefinitely.
Unoka exerts a powerful and entirely negative influence on his son's life. Okonkwo sets out to be everything that his father was not: rich, strong, fierce, respected, a great warrior, and a pillar of the tribe. He even takes care to avoid Unoka's positive qualities: his musical virtuosity and his skill as a storyteller. He despises everything about his father, but particularly his cowardice.
Ironically, however, Okonkwo's life is ruled by fear, including the fear of resembling his father. He even dies by his own hand while Unoka, despite a grisly and...
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