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Chapter 7-8

posted Oct 26, 2011 18:50:29 by zraymond@hinghamschools.com
In what ways are Obierika and Okonwko foils? How does Obierika’s existence modify our understanding of living within the Ibo community? How does he modify our understanding of Okonkwo?
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4 replies
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LUKE02 said Oct 27, 2011 01:05:51
Obierika and Okonkwo are someway foils because they argued about Ikemefuna's death in different ways. Obierika felt that it wasn't right of Okonwko to be part of Ikemefuna's death and Okonkwo feels since he didn't actually kill Ikemefuna he is not to blame. Obierika's disagreement with Okonkwo reveals Okonkwo's first feeling of true guilt in the story. Achebe really depicts this as a hard thing for Okonkwo to deal with because it lowers his mental toughness. Obierika lets us know that the Ibo culture doesn't need to be as aggressive as Okonkwo is and he modifies our understanding of Okonkwo because he really expresses how Okonkwo goes over the top on being "manly".
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MEAGHAN02 said Oct 27, 2011 01:36:02
I agree with Luke about how Obierika and Okonwko are foils in a way because Obierika's opinions towards Ikemefuna's death demonstrates that Okonkwo is feeling guilty. I also think that when he and Obierika are discussing Okonkwo's concerns about Nwoye, and insecure side of Okonkwo is adressed. Abeche writes, "Whenever he thought of his father's weakness and failure troubled him he expelled it by thinking about his own strenght and success"(66). This is evidence that he is concerned about what people in the community think about him based on his father. We have not seen this concern in Okonkwo before. Obierika helps us understand that he is still considered a decent person in Ibo society because he is still masculine, but has an appropriate balance of emotions too, and acts like a human being, unlike Okonkwo who trys to hid his emotions. It reveals that in the Ibo society, most people do not try to exceed their gender expectations as extreme as Okonkwo.
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BRANDK02 said Oct 27, 2011 02:51:54
In addition, Obierika and Okonkwo are examples of foils because of their fathering styles. In our class discussion, we concluded that Okonkwo's theory, which is that unrelenting physical and mental discipline equates to self-sufficiency, was not perfect. Obierika does even more to discredit Okonkwo's heavy discipline by raising a son who meets every expectation that Nwoye falls short of while still dismissing his boy's excellence as "too sharp" (70). The success of Obierika's boy despite his father's downplaying mentality directly contrasts the sad-faced, incipiently lazy boy produced by Okwonko's intense strength-building regiment. That said, Obierika arguably contributes more depth to the system of social values governing Ibo society. Having provided for the success of his child despite his relatively passive attitude, Obierika possibly demonstrates that Ibo society is not necessarily built upon strength and shear force. If not, he at least embodies the idea that "the end justifies the means"; that other attributes are welcome in society as long as they ultimately benefit the village.
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KEL02 said Oct 27, 2011 21:50:00
I agree with Brandon that Obierika acts as a foil to Okonkwo, causing Okonkwos forceful method of instilling values onto his children to appear unsuccessful and cruel. I also agree with Luke that Obierka reveals that one does not need to go to such extremes in life in order to be accepted in Ibo society. before Obierika, Okonkwo's inability to express his emotions seemed justifiable, because he was conforming to society. however, after we learn that Obierika is a successful, masculine man, but that he does not live in such extremes, Okonkwo's actions seem unnecessary. i think the foil is best portrayed when Okonkwo confronts Obierika about not going with the group to kill Ikemefuna. Obierkia responds saying that he is indeed very manly and that what Okonkwo has done, "will not please the Earth...and that it is the kind of action for which the goddess wipes out whole families" (67). Obierika reveals that one can achieve ideal masculinity through humane ways, compared to Okonkwo's constant focus on never showing weakness.
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