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Oshia, Nnu Ego’s oldest surviving son, is an emblem of the new order, the
next generation that would alter the nature of modern Nigerian society. However,
he is not a radical figure, out to break entirely with traditional modes or to
topple the institution of the family. Through most of his formative years, he is
the ideal and dutiful son, fulfilling the high hopes Nnu Ego cherishes of the
honor and comfort he will eventually bestow on her. Although he and his brother,
Adim, obediently tend the family stall in the marketplace, they later lament the
time they were forced to sacrifice from pursuing their studies. Caught between
two worlds, Oshia must live up to the expectations his parents place on him
while satisfying his own desire to better himself through education.
Oshia’s ambition and intelligence eventually overpower his obligations to
the traditional order. He represents a general shift in Nigerian society as new
influences and new options became available to Ibos such as Nnaife. Oshia
chooses his own individual destiny over his responsibilities to the collective,
which makes him a failure and a disappointment to his parents. Ironically, while
Oshia works as a research scientist and wins a scholarship to study in the
United States, his academic achievements do not make up for his failure to
remain in Lagos to support his family. Still, Oshia never completely turns his
back on his origins. He honors his culture and pays homage to the sacrifices his
mother made by funding an elaborate funeral service for her.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Joys of Motherhood!