Illustration of a person holding their head next to a noose and a detached head

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

Start Free Trial

What do the flashbacks reveal about Okonkwo's and Unoka's relationship in Things Fall Apart?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Flashbacks add dimension to Achebe's writing. The flashbacks reveal Okonkwo's images of his father. The flashbacks help develop the character of Unoka. The reader can get a visual image of Unoka. Likewise, the reader can understand the relationship between Okonkwo and his father. It is easy to see why Okonkwo fears becoming like his father. It is easy to see why Okonkwo despises the father he knew as lazy and dishonorable.

Through the flashbacks, readers can understand emotional and physical characteristics of characters who are introduced. Unoka enjoys the party life; drinking and playing his flute are things he enjoys. Without the flashbacks, the reader would not have clear images into the character Unoka. Flashbacks give the reader an opportunity to see into Okonkwo's past. The reader can imagine how disturbed Okonkwo is because of his father's passive, lazy actions when Okonkwo was just a young boy.

Using a falshback helps the author insert information that cannot be revealed in any other way. It is a technique or tool that moves the story forward:

The purpose of the flashback is simple: it is a technique that bridges time, place and action to reveal information about the character, or move the story forward.



See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team