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Textual analysis. ENG 4U1 Ms. Reid. Quote.

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textual analysis

Textual analysis


Ms. Reid

  • When did you become a shivering old woman, Okonkwo asked himself, you who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed.” (p.46)
  • This quote demonstrates Okonkwo’s inaccurate views of what it means to be a man. His hyper masculine ideas have erroneously led him to believe that showing emotion is not a trait that men should possess; and experiencing feelings of loss or guilt is a trait solely associated with women. The quote also alludes to the societal views associated with women in which women are simply viewed as weak beings who are controlled by emotion.

Okonkwo’s ideas regarding masculinity led to dire consequences such as losing his son and a chi that failed to bring him prosperity. The above quote is also highly indicative of Okonkwo’s tragic flaw: Fear. Okokwo’s life was dominated by fear of failure and weakness. This forced Okonkwo to make poor decisions that led to his demise.

quote 2
Quote #2
  • “Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” (p.5)

This quote, from the narrator’s recounting, in chapter 1, or how Unoka calmly interacted with someone to whom he owed money, alludes to the highly sophisticated art of rhetoric practiced by the Igbo. This formalness offers insight into the misunderstandings that occur between the Igbo and the Europeans. Whereas the latter value efficiency and directness in their dealings, the Igbo value an adherence to cultural traditions which include certain patterns of dialogue considered inefficient by Western standards.


The metaphor as words as food is highly appropriate, given the almost exclusively agricultural nature of Igbo society. The same amount of value is placed on food and community.