Character Sketch of Unoka in Things Fall Apart

Okonkwo’s father, of whom Okonkwo has been ashamed since childhood. He died when Okonkwo was very young, and he was a failure. By the standards of the clan, Unoka was a coward and a spendthrift. He never took a title in his life, he borrowed money from his clansmen, and he rarely repaid his debts. He never became a warrior because he feared the sight of blood. Moreover, he died of an abominable illness. Unoka died in debt and humiliation. The memory of him gave Okonkwo a terrible fear of failure, and to work tirelessly. On the positive side, Unoka appears to have been a talented musician and gentle, if idle. He may well have been a dreamer, ill-suited to the chauvinistic culture into which he was born. The novel opens ten years after his death. Though Unoka does not make a mark in his tribe, his grandson, Nwoye, inherits some of his exquisite qualities, Okonkwo sees traces of his father in his son Nwoye.

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