Things Fall Apart: Essay on extract from Chapter 7- Ines Martinez How does the writer create tension and convey sympathy for Ikemefuna in this extract from the novel? Introduction: In this extract from Chapter 7, which describes the death of Ikemefuna, Achebe has used a number of techniques to create tension and make the reader feel sympathy for his situation. Part One – Preparations for the journey: The day of Ikemefuna’s death, the men returned to Okonkwo’s hut showing us that it was an important event for the clan, and a kind of ritual for them. They were carrying wine pots, and their goatskin bags hung over their shoulders.
The reference to the “deathly silence [which] descended on Okonkwo’s compound” is one way that Achebe hints at Ikemefuna’s death. This gives the reader a sense of foreboding about the events that are to follow. Part Two- The beginning of the journey: “At the beginning of the journey the men of Umuofia talked and laughed about the locusts, about their women […] But as they drew near to the outskirts of Umuofia silence fell upon them too. ” We know by this quote that the men are used to these events, but they still feel a little weary about Ikemefuna’s death and try to hide it by talking and laughing.
In the end, no one knows what else to say, as the moment of the death comes nearer; it is a very uncomfortable silence for them and specially for Ikemefuna. Achebe describes how “the men trod dry leaves on the sand” and how “all else was silent. ” And adds that a little further on the journey, the men start to hear faint beatings of the ekwe from a village, which makes the atmosphere and the moment more tense for both the readers and the characters. The men then start to argue about the dancing, “It is an ozo dance. The men said among themselves. […] They argued for a short while and fell into silence again. This quote now confirms to us that the men are desperate for something to distract them. The silence is starting to urge the characters and it shows us that they are wanting to get to their destination fast “Ikemefuna heard a whisper behind him […] the man who had whispered now called out aloud, urging the others to hurry up. ” Some of the men were even restless to get there, “We still have a long way” a sentence to encourage the group and enhance their walking pace. This scene also affects the readers, in a way in which they too start to feel like the characters. Part Three- Ikemefuna’s feelings:
Ikemefuna has a lot of respect towards Okonkwo. He believes that he is so confident, respected, strong and manly, and he really admires that. So as the journey proceeded, Ikemefuna remembered Okonkwo’s presence and thought he would be fine. “Although he felt uneasy before, he was not afraid now. Okonkwo walked behind him. ” He thought to himself how lucky he had been to find Okonkwo, how safe he felt around him and how grateful he felt towards him, his “father” as Ikemefuna would call him. As the journey went on, Ikemefuna started to ponder at things and asked himself questions, answering them as he went.
He thought about his real father, and how distant they had become, how Okonkwo felt more like his real father, how his sister and mother would react when they would see him for the first time since those three years. “How his mother would weep for joy , and thank Okonkwo for having looked after him so well […] she would want to hear everything that had happened to him in all these years. ” Ikemefuna was thinking about everything, and started to fear if his mother was dead or not. “His mother might be dead”. The reader sees how naive Ikemefuna is, and how little he knows about the situation.
We know what is going to happen, but Ikemefuna thinks differently. It almost makes the moment seem like everything is going to be alright when he starts to ask himself about his family, but we read the next sentence and we know the reality of the event. We start to feel sorry for the poor child and we then start to realize how cruel the rules of the clan are. Part Four-His death: As the men start to arrive to their destination, Ikemefuna had stopped thinking for a moment. “One of the men behind him cleared his throat. Ikemefuna looked back, and the man growled at him[…] the way he did sent a cold fear down Ikemefuna? back. His hands trembling vaguely on the black pot he carried. ” He has had a confrontation with a man from the group, and Ikemefuna knows how fierce they are. He starts to fear and knows he must not look back. He fears not only about the man, but “why had Okonkwo withdrawn to the rear? ” Ikemefuna starts to realize something isn’t right. But he doesn’t have much time to think about it as seconds later he gets hit by a matchet. “Okonkwo looked away” it hurts him to see the scene, after all, he called him his son. But Okonkwo knows that he cannot be seen as weak. “He heard Ikemefuna cry “Father, they have killed me! as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his matchet and cut him down. ” This scene is fatal for the readers and they start to feel really sorry for Ikemefuna. They begin to realize what Okonkwo has done, and now know how he really is. The reader also stays shocked. It is a thrilling moment as it reflects the love of the child but also the disappointment of Ikemefuna towards Okonkwo. Conclusion: This chapter for me was very emotive. It made me finally realize how Okonkwo’s character is too aggressive, and I start to feel hatred because of what he has done.
I think Achebe used techniques very well, and really managed to make suspense and emotion, which affects the reader in a way in which they want to keep reading to see what happens next. 987 words. (without counting title etc. ) Things Fall Apart- pg. 54 Things Fall Apart-pg. 55 Things Fall Apart- pg. 55 Things Fall Apart- pg. 55 Things Fall Apart- pg. 56 Things Fall Apart- pg. 56 Things Fall Apart- pg. 56 Things Fall Apart- pg. 56 Things Fall Apart- pg. 56 Things Fall Apart- pg. 57 Things Fall Apart-pg. 57 Things Fall Apart- pg. 57 Things Fall Apart- pg. 57