Things Fall Apart

Retread the exchange between Obierika and Okonkwo. How does it reflect the characteristics of both men? What does it foreshadow for Okonkwo?

Chapter 24

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"Can you see him?" he asked Obierika.


"Egonwanne," he said, his eyes roving from one corner of the huge marketplace to the other. Most of the men sat on wooden stools they had brought with them.

"No," said Obierika, casting his eyes over the crowd. "Yes, there he is, under the silk-cotton tree. Are you afraid he would convince us not to fight?"

"Afraid? I do not care what he does to you. I despise him and those who listen to him. I shall fight alone if I choose."

They spoke at the top of their voices because everybody was talking, and it was like the sound of a great market.

"I shall wait till he has spoken," Okonkwo thought. "Then I shall speak."

"But how do you know he will speak against war?" Obierika asked after a while.

"Because I know he is a coward," said Okonkwo.

This exchange reflects Obierika's caution as opposed to Okonkwo's rash behavior. Obierika thinks long and hard before he speaks; his words are well thought out. Okonkwo's words and behavior are based on pride (or loss of it). He doesn't use knowledge or forethought to weigh his decisions and actions; he reacts from an emotional standpoint based upon "feelings" rather than thoughts.


Things Fall Apart/ Chapter 24