In Things Fall Apart, Chapter 8 what is Okonkwo's opinion of and concern about his children, as expressed to his friend Obierika?

Expert Answers
teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 8, Okonkwo finds himself grieving over the death of Ikemefuna. Although he remembers how fond he was of the young boy, he is disgusted with himself for displaying what he considers feminine emotions.

He decides to visit his friend, Obierika, in order to take his mind off his grief. When he approaches his friend, he finds Obirieka sitting under an orange tree making thatches. Soon, Obirieka's son, Maduka, walks up, and Okonkwo asks to shake hands with him. He tells Maduka that his wrestling skills have impressed him.

With this, talk turns to the subject of children, and Okonkwo laments that he does not have a son like Maduka. He complains to Obirieka that a bowl of mashed yams could defeat Nwoye in a wrestling match. Okonkwo feels that Nwoye's two younger brothers show more promise, and he frets that Ezinma, while possessing the right spirit, is the 'wrong' gender.

Obirieka chides Okonkwo for what he considers a baseless worry, pointing out that Okonkwo's children are still young. Okonkwo counters that, when he was Nwoye's age, he was already quite independent, and since Nwoye is supposedly old enough to impregnate a woman, he expects Nwoye to show more masculine promise and initiative. Instead, Nwoye seems to have too much of his mother in him, and this frustrates Okonkwo. Meanwhile, Obirieka leaves unspoken the thought that Nwoye really takes after his grandfather. Their conversation soon turns towards the events of Ikemefuna's death and why Obirieka did not participate in Ikemefuna's execution.

Read the study guide:
Things Fall Apart

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question