Maduka in Things Fall Apart

Instructor: Liz Breazeale
Maduka is a character from Chinua Achebe's famous novel ''Things Fall Apart''. In this lesson, learn about Maduka's significance and the role he plays in the plot.

Who is Maduka?

Maduka is a character from Chinua Achebe's famous, much-studied novel Things Fall Apart. The novel follows an Igbo man, Okonkwo, as his village comes into contact with British colonists in the 1800s. The Igbo are a native Nigerian people, and Achebe's work tells the story of colonization and imperialism from their side of history, something that made this work important from the moment it was released in 1958.

Maduka, as mentioned previously, is a minor character in this novel. He's the son of Okonkwo's very best friend, Obierika. Maduka is a manly guy, and Okonkwo wishes he had a son like him. Which can't make his own son, Nwoye, feel all that great about himself. But yes, Maduka is a strong, athletic young man, and he wins a wrestling match in Chapter 6 of the novel with such skill that even Okonkwo, who was a great wrestler in his day, is very impressed.

Traditional Igbo dress
Igbo

Maduka as a Wrestler

As mentioned above, Okonkwo thinks highly of Maduka; the young man is, after all, a fellow wrestler, the son of his best friend, and a strapping young gentleman to boot. He's every father's dream child, in Okonkwo's eyes.

Maduka, in Chapter 6, wins a wrestling match with a move the crowd can barely follow because it's so quick and skillful. His friends carry him off in celebration as people stand and marvel at what they've just seen. Okonkwo respects this act, not only because he himself used be the most renowned wrestler in the surrounding area, but because he feels wrestling is an appropriately manly sport. Maduka, clearly, is destined for great things.

Which is exactly what Okonkwo tells him. In a later chapter, Obierika and Maduka visit Okonkwo, and Okonkwo shakes the boy's hand, telling him just how much promise he has. Okonkwo then tells Obierika that he wishes he had a son like Maduka, because Maduka is brave, strong, and possesses all the traits Okonkwo believes a man should have, like brawn and skill.

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