In what ways is Okonkwo a good father? A bad father?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Okonkwo is a good father in that he provides for his family and protects them when necessary. He is also a successful man who demonstrates to his children the importance of hard work and motivation. He teaches Ikemefuna and Nwoye necessary skills to become successful farmers and even travels to the Oracle of the Hills and Caves in order to protect Enzima. However, Okonkwo is a callous, strict man who does not express his feelings of admiration to his children. Okonkwo believes that any form of positive emotion or communication makes him look weak. For this reason, he does not tell Enzima how much he admires her or lets Ikemefuna know that he is proud of him. Okonkwo is also intolerant and insensitive. He neglects his son Nwoye because he feels like Nwoye is too feminine simply because he does not share any of his "masculine" interests. Although Ikemefuna is not his son, he takes part in his murder despite being told not to participate. Nwoye ends up resenting his father and Okonkwo's children never develop a healthy relationship with their father because of his insensitive disposition. 

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Things Fall Apart

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