"Things Fall Apart"
Understanding the Reader-Response Lens
Reader-Response theory allows for inferences and insights by the reader. When your trying to understand the reader-response lens you have to ask your self questions like Why did I think that? What in my past made me interpret that scene the way I did? . How has other pieces I've read influenced the way I react to this text? What does the text have to do with you, personally? As personal experiences and exposures to literature grow, a person’s response to a text changes.You are the reader so questions like those will play a big role in understanding the lens.
Looking through the reader-response lens, we could very much see Okonkwo's hatred towards his father, Unoka. His determination to be become the exact opposite of Unoka greatly influenced his emotions, choice of words, and actions. With this lens, it's a little difficult to say what kind of impact it had on the story because it's really based on how we, as individuals, look at it.
"He heard Ikemefuna cry, 'My father, they have killed me!' as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak."
Okonkwo did not want to be thought of as "weak" like Unoka, so he killed this boy without hesitation, even though he cared about him. His mind set is so strict about being nothing like his father that he did not think twice about protecting his young adopted son of three years. We can see how Okwonkwo's unbelievably strong determination and will power greatly surpasses his sense of sympathy.