Friday, February 01, 2008
Another book read in preparation for the Praxis II test. I feel for Okonkwo--like him, I have a distasteful and useless father. Also like Okonkwo I spend far too much time trying not to be my father instead of being who I am.
An interesting novel about tribal life in what is now Nigeria just as the English arrive and dismantle millennia worth of cultural norms. My grandfather was born in New South Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), so I found this work particularly engaging. He was the son of missionaries whose work was likely as brutal and well-intentioned as that of the British thugs hanging tribesmen in Umuofia.
Achebe brings the tribe to life; their beliefs, their customs, their morals and codes. Okonkwo is not a deep character, and is not particularly sympathetic. He's driven by a powerful will, and like many such characters ends up at odds with Fate. But one understands the internal forces which drive him, and what happens to him and his people is terribly sad.