Things Fall Apart Study Guide
Okonkwo was violent, unkind, wild, strong, active, huge, rich, powerful, and successful. On the other hand, Unoko, his father, was tall, thin, lazy, improvident, debtor, poor, coward, unsuccessful, and gentle. Okonkwo was ashamed of his father to the point that he hated everything the Unoko loved. Okonkwo was successful and unkind because his father was the exact opposite. Achebe keeps introducing Ibo customs to show that African people had laws, education, and respect towards one another. When someone visits a person’s house, it was part of the Ibo culture to serve Kola. This shows that the Ibo people and Africans are not savages. Conversations in the Ibo culture are viewed as art. Proverbs are the source of the words and conversations. If you know how to use proverbs, you will surely master the art of conversations. The famous line “proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten” means that proverbs are the oil that fuels conversations and words.
The night held a terror on the Ibo people, even the bravest. Children where warned not to whistle at night because of the evil spirits. They would never say sting, the name of the snake, at night because it hears. The Mbaino murdered a woman from Umuofia. To solve the problem, it was either war or to replace the murdered woman with citizens of Mbaino. The Mbaino chose to replace the woman a young man, Ikemefuna, and a virgin woman. Okonkwo feared failure and weakness. He feared he would resemble his father. When he was little he suffered when a playmate said that his father was a failure. He was always angry and worked very hard. Also, Okonkwo started from nothing. His attitude towards women was strict and straightforward. If he tells a woman to do something she has to do it. Okonkwo disliked Nwoye because he was lazy, which reminds him of Unoko. There are no advantages for every wife and her children to live alone in a hut. The disadvantages are that...