Things Fall Apart Commentary

Things Fall Apart Commentary
Guiding questions:
  * How does Achebe create tension and convey sympathy for Ikemefuna in this part of the novel?
  * How is the character of Okonkwo presented in this extract?

At the beginning of this extract Achebe begins with “the men of Umoufia pursed their way, armed with sheathed machetes, and Ikemefuna, carrying a pot of palm-wine on his head, walked in their midst”, this sentence sounds like the men are going out to war with another clan, the fact that there are only men signifies that what they are doing is both significant but also dangerous. The use of the word ‘pursued’ makes the reader think of a predator pursuing their prey and in this case Ikemefuna is the prey,   this makes the reader feel sorry for him because he is a clan on his own that hasn’t done anything to deserve what is about to happen to him, the fact that he is unaware also plays a part in the reader’s emotions. The fact that Ikemefuna is the middle again symbolises animal imagery; it is like they are a pack of wild dogs that are surrounding their prey, making escape impossible. This again plays with the reader’s emotions as they know that Ikemefuna is sure to face death.
“Although he had felt uneasy at first, he was not afraid now. Okonkwo walked behind him“ Ikemefuna feels safe as long as Okonkwo is behind him, he thinks that as long as Okonkwo is behind him none of the other men can do anything to him; if at all anything was to happen to Ikemefuna, it would be Okonkwo himself that would administer the punishment. This gives a lot of insight into how Ikemefuna sees Okonkwo; he seems to know that although Okonkwo seems like a cruel and heartless man, he would never let anything happen to him, this could be true to an extent but Okonkwo is scared of failure and he would do anything to make sure that people don’t think of him as a failure. It would also seem to him that he was a failure if other people punished someone under his control because in his...