The Broken Chain

864 Words4 Pages
The broken chain In his novel Things fall apart, Chinua Achebe depicts how British colonisers destroy the traditional Ibo life. One of the pillars of the tribe is the chain of fathers and sons together in life and after death. This is best described towards the end of the story when the protagonist Okonkwo has driven away his son, Nwoye, to the Christian church. Okonkwo is in a state of confusion and fury, afraid that his other five sons will follow Nwoye: "He saw himself and his fathers crowding round the ancestral shrine waiting in vane for worship and sacrifice and finding nothing but ashes of bygone days, and his children the while praying to the white man's god."(142) This sentence is the core of the narrative. Here the two main conflicts are exposed clearly, the father-and-son conflict, aswell as the conflict between the Ibo people and the British colonisers, embodied in disparate religious beliefs. Okonkwo is the strong, successful son of a weak father, Unoka. This has formed his character and will eventually destroy him . "And so Okonkwo was ruled by one passion- to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved."(17) Nwoye is presented as being similar to his grandfather, or at least that is Okonkwo's greatest fear: "Nwoye was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness. At any rate, that was how it looked to his father." (17) Here the narrator interferes in defense of Nwoye; what it looks like to his father may not be the truth about the boy. But who is Nwoye? He is very much a shadow-like figure. He does not have a voice of his own until late in the narrative. He is depicted by the narrator's delicate words: "Nwoye was developing into a sad-faced youth" (17) or by his father's abusive language: "I will not have a son who cannot hold up his head in the gathering of the clan. I would sooner

More about The Broken Chain

Open Document