Chinua Achebe, "Things Fall Apart" Explain how Ikemefuna used as a foil to help make clear the essence of Nwoye.

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Explain how Ikemefuna used as a foil to help make clear the essence of Nwoye.

A foil is literally a sheet of bright metal that is placed under a piece of jewellery to increase its brilliance. In literature, by extension, the term is applied to any person or sometimes thing that through strong contrast underscores or enhances the distinctive characteristics of another. The first 47 pages set up two character foils, Unoka for Okonkwo and Ikemefuna for Nwoye. Focusing on the latter, it can be said that Ikemefuna as a foil for Nwoye contrasts Ikemefuna's abilities, liveliness, and manliness with Nwoye's lack of talent, introversion and weakness in order to bring out the plight of Okonkwo's biological son.

Nwoye's lack of abilities is highlighted by Ikemefuna's strong skills, one of which is wisdom. Ikemefuna's knowledge is admired by not only Okonkwo, however, from Nwoye, as well.

"Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, who was two years younger, became quite inseparable from him because he seemed to know everything." Nwoye enjoyed how Ikemefuna knew many folk tales, much about birds, and clever tricks on the nature of survival. However, Ikemefuna's intelligence gave more attention to Okonkwo of how much more he has to grow. "I am worried about Nwoye. A bowl of pounded yams can throw him in a wrestling match. His two younger brothers are more promising... my children do not resemble me." It is clear to the reader that Okonkwo is more aware of Nwoye's feeble-mindedness as he expressed those feelings to his friend after the death of Ikemefuna, when he is in Okonkwo's thoughts more than ever. Therefore, though Nwoye's abilities are not too strong, it is only after being differentiated to Nwoye when the contrast is clearly shown.

Nwoye's laziness is emphasized further when...