Study Guide

Omoro Kinte in Roots: The Saga of an American Family

By Alex Haley

Omoro Kinte

Kunta learns a lot from his stern father Omoro, and those lessons prove invaluable to him as he endures the most trying experiences of his life—getting kidnapped by slavers, having his foot chopped off, and adjusting to the saddening, fury-inducing life as a slave.

Kunta faces more horrific things than anyone should have to…but his spirit is never crushed. And we think that his dad Omoro deserves a bit of credit for that—he brought up his son to be an insanely strong man.

Like all Mandinka fathers, Omoro takes an active role in raising his son. That doesn't mean it's all pep talks and high-fives—Omoro is more than willing to assert his authority and even give Kunta a smack or two if they need arises. But the key is that he always does what he does out of love and a sincere desire to help his son become better.

For example, think about how he reacts when one of his goats is killed by a panther when Kunta is watching over it. Kunta is terrified, expecting his dad to get all Medieval on his behind, but Omoro instead treats it as a teachable moment.

"All men make mistakes. I lost a goat to a lion when I was of your rains. [...] I learned, and you must learn. Never run toward any dangerous animal." (21.18)

This is just one of the many lessons Omoro passes down to Kunta, and they all prove invaluable to him over the course of his life. What's more, Kunta proves to be a chip off the old block, developing his father's same cool, stoic nature—not to mention his same warm, gooey center.