How does the writer create tension and convey sympathy for Ikemefuna in this extract from the novel?
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 …show more content…
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´s 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 He fears not only about the man, but “why had Okonkwo withdrawn to the rear?”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