An Analysis of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart p. 52 “For three years Ikemefuna lived in Okonkwo’s household and the elders of Umuofia appeared to have actually ignored him. He proliferated like a yam tendril in the rainy season, and was full of the sap of life. He had actually become wholly absorbed into his new family. He was like an older bro to Nwoye, and from the really first appeared to have kindled a new fire in the more youthful kid. He made him feel full-grown; and they no longer spent the nights in mom’s hut while she cooked, now sat with Okonkwo in his obi, or watched him as he tapped his palm tree for the evening red wine.
Absolutely nothing delighted Nwoye now more than to be sent for by his mother or another of his father’s better halves to do one of those difficult and manly jobs in the house, like splitting wood, or pounding food.” Things Break Down is a story of a man, a tribe, and the struggles of a new generation versus the old. Ikemefuna, although a minor character, causes major modifications in the lives of Okonkwo’s household. In the above passage, Achebe explains Ikemefuna’s life with the Okonkwos and his influence on their household, especially Nwoye.
He enjoys the household activities with the Okonkwos and motivates Nwoye to join the masculine world with his dad. This passage, itself calming and enjoyable to read, foreshadows the later fate of Ikemefuna, extremely murdered under the hands of Okonkwo himself, who relates his fondness for Ikemefuna with weak point and for that reason damages him to conserve his own variation of masculinity. The descriptions such as “yam tendrils” and “sap of life” are especially fitting as the story of Okonkwo is parallel to the growth of yam, a crop fit only for males.
They flawlessly demonstrate how Ikemefuna gradually ends up being the surrogate boy under the assistance of Okonkwo and how he supports him as one of his own. However, it is likewise because of this eagerness towards Ikemefuna that causes Okonkwo’s worrying resistance towards him, even marking him as an opponent, an Achilles’ heel. This passage also provides an insight into the daily of the Okonkwo household and how they lived and made it through.