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Essay on Okonkwo and Nwoye in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Understanding Okonkwo and Nwoye in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Two passages from the story Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, provide the reader with a more profound understanding of Okonkwo, and his son Nwoye. The two do not have a good relationship and it becomes worse as the story progresses. Throughout the book the two become increasingly distant and it is apparent that Okonkwo is very disappointed in his son. After the death of Ikemefuna, Nwoye begins to question many aspects of his life, especially religion. As the Christian missionaries spend more time with the members of the village, Nwoye becomes interested in this new religion. The first passage I have chosen discusses Nwoye’s feelings about Christianity.

“But there was a young lad who had been captivated. His name was Nwoye, Okonkwo’s first son. It was not the mad logic of the Trinity that captivated him. He did not understand it. It was the poetry of the new religion, something felt in the marrow. The hymn about brothers who sat in the darkness and in fear seemed to answer a vague and persistent question that haunted his young soul – the question of the twins crying in the bush and the questions of Ikemefuna who was killed. He felt a relief within as the hymn poured into his parched soul. The words panting earth. Nwoye’s callow mind was greatly puzzled (147).”

This passage shows the reader that Nwoye is extremely different from many members of his family and the other members of the village. After Okonkwo learns that his son is interested in the new religion he is furious. Okonkwo has always been disappointed in his son. He believes that Nwoye is not as strong as a man of their clan should be. When Okonkwo was Nwoye’s …

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… clansmen, his ancestors, and worst of all himself.

In the beginning of the story, Okonkwo’s relationship with his son was strained. Toward the end of the story, Nwoye has left is his family and will never see his father again. The elders of the village put much emphasis on family life and helping fellow clansmen. Okonkwo’s family life had increasingly gone downhill as the story progressed. This book can be related to any family, even though it was written in a different time and place. Family problems affect everyone and this story shows the reader how certain problems are dealt with. I don’t believe, however, that Okonkwo’s family took care of their problems in a productive manner. With better communication, Nwoye’s leaving and Okonkwo’s death may have been prevented.

Works Cited:

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Oxford: Heinemann, 1986.

Horror Versus Terror in Gothic Literature

Horror Versus Terror in Gothic Literature

Gothic literature can be described as literature that is used to terrify people by portraying situations that border between reality and unreality. The purpose of Gothic literature is to terrify people, not to horrify them. The definition of horror and terror is often misunderstood, many people think they have the same meaning. Devendra Varma, in the Gothic Flame described the difference between these words as “an awful apprehension and sickening realization.” A situation that is horrifying is usually described very distinctly. It usually deals with something that is grotesque and may be so appalling that is it unrealistic. It gives an exact portrayal of what is being described, usually by physical characteristics. Its intention is to appall and scare the reader. A situation that is terrifying is also used to frighten the reader, but it instead suggests something that will happen instead of describing it exactly. It allows the readers imagination to determine the story so that there is a sense of uncertainty. It seems to give a feeling of dread instead of an alarming feeling as with horror. William Faulkner, in “That Evening Sun”, uses the distinction between the words terror and horror to portray Jason’s, the child, feelings of terror concerning racial differences by creating a situation that would be terrifying to the reader.

The feeling of terror, similar to the terror that Jason feels about race, is exemplified several times throughout the story. Faulkner wants the reader to understand the meaning of terror so that they understand Jason’s terror. He especially utilizes sound to terrify the reader.

“One night we waked up, hearing the sound. It was not singing and it was…

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… the possibility of being put in their position.

The difference between the words terror and horror is essential to the understanding of “That Evening Sun” as Gothic literature. Varma further explains this distinction by saying, “Terror thus creates an intangible atmosphere of spiritual psychic dread, a certain superstitious shudder at the other world. Horror resorts to a cruder presentation of the macabre: by an exact portrayal of the physically horrible and revolting, against a far more terrible background of spiritual gloom and despair.” Faulkner uses the definitions of these words to communicate that people who are prejudice are not scared of people from other backgrounds because of what they look or act like. They are instead terrified of being treated like they are treated. They are also terrified because they are uncertain of what makes them so different.

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