Khymari soft grass below and high sky above,

Khymari StenhouseEnglish 2 Period B1/24/18                                    The Internal Struggles of Okenwa The story “Apollo” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is about Okenwa, a Nigerian  man who made his bi-weekly trip to visit his parents, while he was there they discussed news about their former house boy named Raphael. The reference of him caused Okenwa to remember about how fifteen years ago he had a secret friendship with Raphael. The story dealt with a variety of topics throughout, such as  growing up, changing, love, jealousy, self acceptance and lust. In “Apollo” Adichie uses characterization ,setting, and point of view to convey the message that when you are struggling with who you truly are, it can cause you to make decisions that can hurt the people around you. Since the story is in first person point of view Okenwa tells the story as he perceives it. He often uses to his five senses to describe what happened. When both Okenwa and Raphael found out that they liked Bruce Lee they quickly bonded over that and they even practiced Kung Fu together.”Raphael and I practiced in the backyard, leaping from the raised concrete soakaway and landing on the grass. Raphael told me to suck in my belly, to keep my legs straight and my fingers precise. He taught me to breathe. My previous attempts, in the enclosure of my room, had felt stillborn. Now, outside with Raphael, slicing the air with my arms, I could feel my practice become real, with soft grass below and high sky above, and the endless space mine to conquer.”(Adichie, 4). Practitioning Kung Fu with Okenwa is something nobody ever did before Raphael.In result, Raphael spending time with Okenwa caused him to feel special.The first person narration greatly differs from the third person story telling because we get the inside scoop from someone who lived through these moments.In this case the first person point of view make the moments more emotional. Additionally, we get to understand the impact and importance that Raphael friendship had on Okenwa. We get are inside of Okenwa head we know his thoughts , feeling and his words during this moment as well as throughout the entire story. “Apollo” being in first person greatly impacts the tone of the story since Okenwa is essentially a pessimist the is often story is told negatively.During the time Okenwa was sick with Apollo he got treated by the family doctor little did they know he can give himself the medicine as well as others. That made him feel irritated with the doctors and his parents.” They did not know how well I could put in the drops myself. Each time they raised the bottle above my face, I remembered the look in Raphael’s eyes that first evening in his room, and I felt haunted by happiness.” (Adichie, 7) While being sick Okenwa is low-spirited he begin to yearns for the feeling he felt while in being in Raphael’s bedroom for the first time. Although the moment when Okenwa first went  into Raphael’s bedroom could have been not mattered to Raphael or even someone on the the outside watching it meant a lot to Okenwa. He even day dreamed about the special emotion he expercined while in there. He even used it as distraction when he was terribly ill and longed for better days. Furthermore the first person narration relives Okenwa internal conflicts show that deals with when he is struggling to find out who he truly is. Also shows how vulnerable Okenwa was, essentially even  to make smart decisions which can be bad for him as well as others.   In “Apollo” setting is used by, extensively describing places, to illustrate the significance that our environment has on who we are and our emotions. Both Okenwa’s parents were professors and had a authentic love for books and ideally wanted Okenwa to be part their passion so they brought him a lot of books. “My bedroom had bookshelves, stacked with the overflow books that did not fit in the study and the corridor, and they made my stay feel transient, as though I were not quite where I that  supposed to be.” (Adichie, 2). Okenwa unfortunately did not feel the same about books, as his parents did. Yet, his bedroom was filled with books. Okenwa views the books in his bedroom as he views himself. Unlike his family, Okenwa thinks that the amount of books in his bedroom does not represent his personality or interests, they essentially make him feel temporary or like an outsider. Not sharing the connection of the love of books with parents make him feel like a disappointment and not good enough. His emotion towards his bedroom reflects on his insecurities and his self-esteem. It shows that he thinks of himself as replaceable and not important. He needed to feel like himself, he does that by doing the things he loves to do, he doesn’t get that same feeling, as when he is surrounded by the books. Which could consequently left him feeling lonely. So Okenwa desired that feeling that he did not get from his family. Therefore, when Raphael came into Okenwa’s life, he felt like he got that feeling that he was  desperately seeking from his parents, from Raphael.  “He taught me to breathe. My previous attempts, in the enclosure of my room, had felt stillborn. Now, outside with Raphael, slicing the air with my arms, I could feel my practice become real, with soft grass below and high sky above, and the endless space mine to conquer. This was truly happening. I could become a black belt one day.”(Adichie, page 3) Being outside while doing Kung Fu puts Okenwa at ease, makes him feel free, like he was truly experiencing happiness.It provides him with a escape away from his parenst. Partially Okenwa was still being a coward by not telling him parents about his genuine passion for kung fu. He naturally assumed that they would not approve of him even entertaining the thought of him doing kung fu, so he never told them he just hide it from them. Which lead to him involving Raphael in a lie because he was being a coward by not telling his parents the truth. He ultimately ending up hurting Raphael when he lied on him and caused Raphael to lose his job.     Adichie characterizes Okenwa by showing that he often lets his emotions and take control of his actions. For example in “Apollo” everybody found out that Raphael had Apollo, a highly contagious virus. Okenwa was strictly told not to go into Raphael’s room so he would not get it too. In spite of being told not to, he nursed Raphael back to health and naturally Okenwa got Apollo too. Even though Okenwa helped Raphael while he was sick Raphael didn’t do the same which caused Okenwa to go out looking for Raphael.  He discovered that Raphael was talking to Josephine, Professor Nwosu’s house helper. Okenwa saw that “She was talking to him with a kind of playful power, as though she could see through him to things that amused her. My reason blurred.”Raphael!” “Oh. Okenwa. Are you allowed to come downstairs?”He spoke as though I were a child, as though we had not sat together in his dim room.”I’m hungry! Where is my food?” It was the first thing that came to me, but in trying to be imperious I sounded shrill. (page 7). Okenwa became jealous and or envious when he saw Raphael talking to a girl outside, his reaction was to be rude to hurt him. After this whole situation escalated and he accidentally tripped as a reaction from embarrassment he lied to his parents and said Raphael had pushed him. “Before my father turned to Raphael, and before my mother lunged at him as if to slap him, and before she told him to go pack his things and leave immediately, there was time. I could have spoken. I could have cut into that silence. I could have said that it was an accident. I could have taken back my lie and left my parents merely to wonder.” (Adichie, 8) He does not tell his parents the truth because he was afraid to stand up to them. If both instances he let his emotions get the best of him, which as a result caused him to make a bad decisions that ended up hurting Raphael because he was being a coward by not telling his parents the truth.The special relationship with Raphael and the lack thereof with his parents put him through a emotional rollercoaster.She shows that our environment affects our emotions and contributes to how we view people and situations. As well as how it contributes to our overall character and actions.In “Apollo” Adichie showed us that through the detailed setting, compelling first person narration and relatable characterization.In addition to that Adichie expressed the notation the when you struggling with who you truly are it cause you to hurt the people around you.