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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

“These sons of wild animals have dared to murder a daughter of Umuofia.”…And in a clear unemotional voice he told Umuofia how their daughter had gone to market at Mbaino and had been killed. (2.6)

The speaker refers to the Umuofia clan as one big family. Thus, the murder of the girl is considered a blow to the family, and therefore a personal offense to everyone in Umuofia. Notice the speaker uses “their daughter” to describe the victim and thus riles up the crowd against the Mbaino.

Quote #2

[Okonkwo] was a very strong man and rarely felt fatigue. But his wives and children were not as strong, and so they suffered. But they dared not complain openly. Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness. At any rate, that was how it looked to his father, and he sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating. And so Nwoye was developing into a sad-faced youth. (2.13)

As the head of his household, Okonkwo is free to be a tyrant and drive his wives and children to work too hard. Okonkwo’s loathing for laziness (carried over from his hatred of his father) causes him to lash out on anyone who seems the slightest bit idle, including his own son. By abusing his young son, it seems that Okonkwo is turning father-hating into a new trend in his family. Okonkwo hated his own father, and though he is trying to do right by his own son, he’s in fact only pushing the boy away.

Quote #3

Okonkwo did not have the start in life which many young men usually had. He did not inherit a barn from his father. There was no barn to inherit. (3.1)

Unoka, Okonkwo’s father, proves deficient in providing for his family. Based on the family roles valued in Igbo culture, one could argue that Unoka is a bad father.

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