A Child's Walk

As Okolie takes his young sister from her home after the death of their parents in order to sell her into slavery, the narrator presents both Ojebeta's insistence on walking and her brother's guilt at what he is about to do:

She shook her head defiantly, implying that she was capable of walking all the way, but Okolie knew that it was a poor show of reluctance to accept his offer. He knew that her feet must indeed be aching by now, even though her pride would not let her admit it. He smiled sadly. The thought of what he was planning to do to her began to nag at his mind and torment him again, however much he tried to suppress it. He was only doing the right thing, he told himself, the only possible thing. He had no alternative. He begged their dead parents to forgive him, but what else was there for a young bachelor like himself to do with a little sister of merely seven years of age? A spoilt child who was still sucking at her mother's breast when all other children of her age had long been weaned? [29]

Note how Emecheta uses this passage to characterize both brother and sister. Do you think revealing Okolie's thoughts make it easier to sympathize with his decision and excuse him for it, or is the novelist using this interior monologue to make a point about slavery and all evil-doing? How does this child's walk differ from that of the young Wole in Aké?

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