Describe Nwoye's reaction to Ikemefuna's death and what it suggests about Ibo culture. . The following are appropriate questions to prepare for an essay exam: a) Toward the .. [the white man is mentioned in connection with leprosy. Describe the relationship between Ikemefuna and Nwoye. Ikemefuna is like an older brother to Nwoye. He helps Things Fall Apart Chs. Practice Quiz. Ikemefuna befriends Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, and Okonkwo becomes inwardly Obierika says that Okonkwo's act will upset the Earth and the earth goddess will.
I would like to point out that it is problematic to declare that being violent and enjoying the sight of blood is a masculine trait and not a feminine one, while conversely liking music and being lazy are feminine traits as described in Unoka. Men were expected to be warriors - women were not. In our culture today, we continue to stereotypically define soldiers as men. Masculine men are expected to be brave, not cry and be willing to fight if needed.
Femininity encompasses more compassionate, peaceful attitudes and are still expected to be caretakers of men and children. We can acknowledge that in our modern society these boundaries are morphing as roles shift and feminism promotes more gender equality. For this essay however, in the world of Okonkwo and Unoka, there was no middle ground - the stereotypes do apply and Achebe used them to separate the worlds of his characters.
Okonkwo loses his hold on the masculine power he fought his entire life to hold onto. In this example, we can identity the stereotypes Achebe was challenging us with in his text: If a man is a warrior and participates in violent acts - he is a brave leader. In this way masculine traits are aligned with power and success while feminine traits are aligned with weakness and failure. In an ironic twist to preconceived notions of colonial violence, she argues that the mission of civilizing forays is feminine.
In a reassignment of traditional held preconceptions of imperialism Gayatri Spivak also supports this construct: The first is domestic-society through-sexual-reproduction cathected as "companionate love"; the second is the imperialist project cathected as civil-society-through-social- mission The metaphoric depiction of social hierarchy as natural and familial —the "national family," the global "family of nations," the colony as a "family of black children ruled over by a white father" depended in this way on the prior naturalizing of the social subordination of women and children within the domestic sphere McClintock, The juxtaposition is that the parallel dominant colonizer is white and rules over the natives with a feminist doctrine, unless provoked to unleash its masculine prowess.
In essence, Achebe pardons Okonkwo for his anger and violence citing the effect that the embarrassment his father caused him to be at the root of his cruel demeanor towards his own children. This opens a pathway for the fear of a subversive feminist uprising to take place within his own self: Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness… It was not external but lay deep within himself. As do many individuals who are bullied early in life, Okonkwo suffered from low self-esteem and worried about how others viewed him.
If we accept this model, Ferrell-Horan 11 Okonkwo can be seen throughout the text as a little boy fighting back using the opposite traits that caused his father humiliation. The terrorist that he becomes as an adult is a mask he has created to hide his fear and his shame - rather than the more easily assumed title of maturity or satisfaction with his life.
We can recognize this event as the start of a latent undercurrent of femininity in Okonkwo that he spends his life trying to quash. By abusing all those around him for their feminine tendencies, he is able to push down his own weaknesses that threaten to bubble up and shame him by aligning him with his father.
Okonkwo tries to force him to act like a more masculine boy his whole life but Nwoye finds it difficult to inhabit this role that Okonkwo is trying to enforce. Nwoye has to pretend to be masculine to appease Okonkwo and deflect his anger.
He hides from Okonkwo the traits within that would bring the disapproval and wrath of his father. For example, instead of enjoying tales of war and violence told by Okonkwo, Nwoye loves listening to mother-lore stories told by the women of the compound: Achebe outlines the tale of the vulture in this section - a story meant for women and children to hear, not men.
That was the kind of story Nwoye loved. But he now knew they were for foolish women and children, and he knew that his father wanted him to be a man. Ferrell-Horan 12 Nwoye grows up with the demoralizing knowledge that his father disapproves of him from a very young age: Nwoye was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness.
At any rate, that was how it looked to his father, and he sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating. And so, Nwoye was developing into a sad-faced youth Achebe. Okonkwo reacts with violence and severe disapproval if provoked by any femininity shown by his sons by chastising them and beating them.
This correlates with the way the natives are treated by the colonizers but in a reverse gender dynamic: The colonized people are praised for feminine traits such as acting submissive and not questioning the power of the church or the new nation.
In perhaps the pivotal action of fear-based violence by Okonkwo in the entire novel - by killing Ikemefuma - Okonkwo robs Nwoye of this happiness. Nwoye found safety and joy in his experiences with Ikemefuma - something he never got from Okonkwo. Ikemefuma treated Nwoye with kindness, acted as an older brother and possibly a positive father figure and role model might act: He made him feel grown-up Okonkwo interferes in their happiness by attempting to frighten the two boys into acting manly.
They are forced to feign masculine characteristics to appease their angry father. In a parallel yet opposite gender construct of imposed gender pressure by the oppressor upon the oppressed, the colonizers, in their quest to shape the attitudes and loyalties of their new nation, taught their converts to dislike the masculine members of their former tribe in order to be embraced by a welcoming, feminine yet undeniably imperialistic power. Unlike Okonkwo, Nwoye questions many of the societal traditions of his clan and the masculine constructs of his society that are seen as status quo.
He grapples with the religious traditions of his tribe and does not blindly accept certain acts of cruelty as justifiable simply because they are the accepted tradition of the Igbo. He does not understand why the tribal Ferrell-Horan 14 medicine leaders would leave crying newborn twins in the bush to die as is their custom. He does not understand familial violence nor wish to partake in it. In this passage, Ezuedu informs Okonkwo that Ikemefuna is to be killed: The Oracle of the Hills and the Caves has pronounced it.
They will take him outside Umuofia as is the custom, and kill him there. But I want you to have nothing to do with it. But Okonkwo cannot hold back and strikes Ikemefuna down.
He was explicitly told not to by Ezuedu: Despite all these motives to not strike him, Okonkwo cannot help himself and in the end is the one to murder Ikemefuna.
He cannot help his action because he is afraid of being seen as weak. But his tribe would not have seen him as weak - they would have known that killing his own adopted son was a sin that would anger the Earth goddess as Obierika tells Okonkwo: What you have done will not please the Earth. Another member of the party had already hit him with his machete Ferrell-Horan 15 when Ikemefuna cries to Okonkwo to save him: Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down.
The colonizers, on the other hand, only use violence when necessary. They do not use it reactively, as Okonkwo often does, but as a calculated tool to control those that they wish to convert and control. In this major event of the novel, we see the lengths Okonkwo is driven to our of his anti-feminine fear.
This unnecessary action, in which Okonkwo kills a member of the family, creates an irreparable wound and and instills distrust between Nwoye and Okonkwo. There is a change in Nwoye - like something breaking inside his heart - which is never to be reversed.
He did not cry. By killing Nwoye's brother and best friend Ikemefuna, Okonkwo has crossed a line which Nwoye cannot forgive and eventually causes Nwoye to seek answers and protection from the missionaries. With the introduction to a Ferrell-Horan 16 Christian God, Nwoye was able to find the answers he was looking for that Okonkwo and the Igbo could never provide. It is interesting to note how Okonkwo lets Nwoye go to the colonizers without killing him and the question becomes: I assert that he surrenders power over him because he knows he has already lost him.
It would be more shameful to fight to keep him and lose rather than let go and blame Nwoye and his traits as a bad son for the loss. Okonkwo knows he risks embarrassment in his tribe and may be seen as a weak, impotent father who could not control his family. You have all seen the great abomination of your brother.
Now he is no longer my son or your brother. I will only have a son who is a man, who will hold his head up among my people. If any one of you prefers to be a woman, let him follow Nwoye now while I am alive so that I can curse him. In this manner, Okonkwo instills in his other children and reassures himself that Nwoye was flawed - not Okonkwo or his actions. He retains his perceived power by assigning the guilt to Nwoye instead of himself.
I would argue that Okonkwo does not kill Nwoye because of the guilt he carries for killing one son keeps him from killing another. Unfortunately for Okonkwo, losing Nwoye to the colonizers sets off a downward spiral which ultimately brings about his humiliation and death. This loss of Nwoye signifies the beginning of the end for Okonkwo - he Ferrell-Horan 17 never regains the control that he depended on to maintain the role of oppressor within his family.
Okonkwo envisions an intolerable scenario after the loss of Nwoye where he himself would be dead and his whole family would be converted with Nwoye with the missionaries: Okonkwo felt a cold shudder run through him at the terrible prospect, like the prospect of annihilation.
With this image he declares: In this moment Achebe foreshadows for us the ending of the story while Okonkwo foresees his own demise: In reality, many children are needed to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops; therefore, most men marry more than one wife. In many cases, the junior wives enjoyed security and prosperity in a large household. The Igbo women lived in their own houses, cooked for themselves, and raised their own children. In some cases women sold their crops in the marketplace and kept the proceeds.
Igbo law also allowed an unhappy wife to leave her husband. In this chapter, Ikemefuna is introduced as a sensitive youth who protects one of his sisters. It is significant that Ikemefuna stops the younger brothers from tattling on Obiageli because he is aware of what Okonkwo might do if he knows the truth.
These girls are actually half-sisters. The Igbo culture clearly defines male and female roles. Things Fall Apart is fiction; nevertheless, this chapter provides a window on the daily lives of the Igbo people at a particular point in time and explains an important religious festival. Chapter 6 Summary and Analysis New Characters: The drummers face the elders and a huge circle of spectators.
There are seven drums arranged according to size in a long wooden basket. Three men beat the drums feverishly as if they are possessed by the spirits of the drums.
Several young men keep order by beating the crowd back with palm branches. Finally, the two wrestling teams dance into the circle. The younger boys wrestle first, and the crowd roars as the third boy throws his opponent. Maduka, the son of Obierika, wins, and three young men from his team run forward and carry him on their shoulders through the cheering crowd. Chapter 6 Summary and Analysis Ekwefi and Chielo stand next to one another in the crowd. Chielo cannot believe that Ekwefi was nearly killed by Okonkwo.
Chielo is an ordinary woman who also serves as the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves.
She is very friendly with Ekwefi. Two teams with 12 men on each side wrestle. The last match is between the leaders of the teams.
These men are the best wrestlers in all the nine villages. Okafo and Ikezue wrestle one another until the muscles on their arms, thighs, and backs stand out and twitch.
It seems like an equal match, but Okafo uses a surprise maneuver and throws his opponent. Okafo is swept off his feet by his team and carried home as the villagers sing his praises. Analysis The wrestling match provides another example of life among the Igbo people. Achebe attempts to recreate the match of the New Yam Festival, which is one of the most exciting events in Igbo society. Historically, wrestling was an important sport among the Igbo because the matches allowed young men to gain recognition by demonstrating their strength and skill.
The younger boys set the scene for the older, more experienced wrestlers. The match in this chapter reminds Okonkwo of his own accomplishments. The community involvement in the wrestling match illustrates the solidarity among the people in the nine-village consortium of Umuofia. The drummers provide the beat and the background, and the drums serve as the pulse of the people.
The excitement of the wrestling match, which involves the entire community, contrasts with the shadowy world of Chielo, the priestess of Agbala. Chielo is introduced as an ordinary woman against the backdrop of the wrestling match. She is a friend of Ekwefi and Ezinma; however, she is also the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves. This is the same Oracle Unoka consulted about his poor harvests.
Agbala is a minor god and a center of divination; the Oracle links the world of the living with the world of the dead. Historically, the Igbo people offered sacrifices, prayers, and invocations through the priest or priestess of the Oracle. Ikemefuna is a positive influence on Nwoye. He is described as a yam tendril in the rainy season. Nwoye remembers the stories his mother used to tell of the tortoise, the bird eneke-nti-oba, and the quarrel between Earth and Sky. I want you to have nothing to do with it.
He calls you father. Nwoye cries, and Okonkwo beats him severely. Ikemefuna is confused because his old home has grown distant.
Match Fishtank - World Literature - Unit 1: Things Fall Apart - Lesson 9
The men of Umuofia travel down a narrow footpath through the heart of the forest. Ikemefuna carries a pot of palm wine on his head and walks in their midst. He feels uneasy at first, but he is reassured because Okonkwo walks behind him.
Ikemefuna feels as though Okonkwo is his father. He was never fond of his real father. Ikemefuna remembers his mother and his younger sister, and he wonders if his mother is still alive.
Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis One of the men clears his throat and growls at Ikemefuna. Okonkwo has withdrawn to the rear of the party. Ikemefuna feels his legs give way under him. The man raises his machete, and Okonkwo looks away. He hears the blow. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo draws his machete and kills Ikemefuna. Nwoye knows that Ikemefuna has been killed. Something has snapped inside him, and he feels limp.
He had the same feeling during the harvest season when he heard infants crying in the bush. Nwoye has heard that twins are put in earthenware pots and thrown away in the Evil Forest.
A deep chill overcomes him when Okonkwo returns after killing Ikemefuna. Analysis Ikemefuna is compared to a yam tendril in the rainy season because he is full of the sap of new life. Although Okonkwo does not display his emotions publicly, he loves his adopted son Ikemefuna. This is evident because Ikemefuna carries his stool and calls Okonkwo father. However, Ezeudu clearly tells Okonkwo not to take part in the ritual killing.
He joins the party, and he provides comfort and assurance for his unsuspecting adopted son on the journey through the forest. However, Okonkwo does retire to the rear of the party when Ikemefuna receives the first blow.
He does not expect the injured boy to run to him. Okonkwo deals the death blow to Ikemefuna as part of a ritual sacrifice because he is afraid of appearing weak. However, here, no animal is substituted for Ikemefuna as a ram is substituted for Isaac.
In any event, Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna, a skillful hunter and sensitive musician. Ikemefuna has achieved the balance of the masculine and feminine energies in Igbo society that escapes Okonkwo. Okonkwo loves Ikemefuna, yet he kills him; Okonkwo also loves Nwoye, yet he devastates his son by killing Ikemefuna.
Nwoye is haunted by other unexplained deaths. The Igbo believe that twins are abnormal and leave the infants to die in the bush; otherwise, the entire community might suffer.
Nwoye is sensitive, and he does not understand these customs. Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis New Characters: He cannot forget Ikemefuna, and he admonishes himself for becoming a shivering old woman. Okonkwo visits his friend Obierika and asks him why he refused to kill Ikemefuna.
He asks Obierika if he questions the authority of the Oracle who said that the boy must die. Obierika explains that he is not afraid of blood, but the Oracle did not ask him specifically to carry out its decision. Obierika says that if he had been Okonkwo, he would have stayed at home. Obierika says that if the Oracle declared that his own son should be killed, he would neither dispute the decree nor help carry out the ritual murder.
Ofoedu, a villager, arrives with a message. He says that Ogbuefi Ndulue, the oldest man in Ire, has died. It is very strange. It was always said that Ndulue and Ozoemena had one mind. He could not do anything without telling her. Ogbuefi Ndulue was a strong man in his youth and led Umuofia to war.
Okonkwo does not understand why a strong man would share his thoughts with his wife. Obierika says that sometimes he regrets taking the ozo title because men of this title cannot climb tall trees; they can only tap short trees while standing on the ground. Okonkwo argues that it is good that the ozo title is esteemed. In other clans, like Abame and Aninta, the ozo title is worth very little.
Obierika recants and says that he is just joking. Then Ibe arrives with his father, Ukegbu, and his uncle. Ukegbu consults his family and returns 15 sticks to Obierika. He adds 10 sticks to the 15 and returns the bundle to Ukegbu. Later, the men eat and drink and criticize the customs of their neighbors. In Abame and Aninta men haggle over a bride-price; they climb trees and pound foo-foo for their wives.
Their customs are upside-down. Obierika says there was a story of white men, the color of chalk. Analysis It is the season of rest. Okonkwo is a man of action and not thought; he is frustrated because he cannot work, and he is haunted by the murder of Ikemefuna.
Obierika chastises Okonkwo and questions the morality of his participation in the ritual sacrifice. He says he would have respected the Oracle, but he would not have participated in killing his own son.
Obierika is more balanced than Okonkwo because he understands how to Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis temper the rules and regulations of the traditional Igbo religion.
Obierika is like Ezeudu who warned Okonkwo not to kill his son. Okonkwo is also worried about Nwoye, who seems weak like his grandfather Unoka. Okonkwo continues to juxtapose his own achievements with the inadequacies of his father and son.
Therefore, Okonkwo cannot understand why a strong man like Ogbuefi Ndulue has shared his thoughts with Ozoemena, his first wife, throughout his life.
This elderly couple died as they had lived—together. They are a symbol of the balance of the masculine and feminine energies in life.
It is this balance that Okonkwo cannot achieve. The dual death of Ndulue and Ozoemena clearly identifies this moral code for Okonkwo; his inability to understand the code dramatizes the discrepancy between his understanding and the values of the clan as a whole.
The conversation about the palm wine tappers provides some comic relief and allows Obierika to question Igbo customs. At the same time, the bride-price negotiations provide another backdrop illustrating Igbo life. In Igbo society, discussions leading to marriage involve the extended family, and serious negotiations are necessary because every adult is responsible for building a family and strengthening the lineage. Because a woman leaves her homestead when she marries, her family receives a bride-price to compensate for their loss.
In the discussion about customs, Obierika again questions assumptions about culture. The men are aware that customs in one area are not accepted in another. Even Okonkwo realizes that the world is wide. However, the final passage is an ironic foreshadowing. The Igbo laugh about the white man; they are certainly not worried about pale men the color of chalk. Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis New Character: He questions his uneasiness about killing Ikemefuna.
As a mosquito buzzes in his ear, he remembers a story his mother used to tell him. When Mosquito asked Ear to marry him, she fell on the floor laughing.
Ear thought Mosquito looked like a skeleton and insinuated that he would not live much longer. To this day, any time Mosquito passes by, he tells Ear that he is still alive.
Later in the chapter, Ekwefi tells Ezinma another story. The snake-lizard gave his mother seven baskets of raw vegetables to cook; they yielded three baskets of cooked vegetables.
As a result, the snake-lizard killed his mother. Then, he brought another seven baskets of raw vegetables and cooked them himself; again they yielded three baskets of cooked vegetables. The snake-lizard was distraught, so he killed himself. She is shivering on a mat beside a huge fire. Okonkwo collects bark, leaves, and grass to make a medicine to cure her fever, or iba.
Their relationship is a companionship of equals. Ekwefi has suffered; she has borne 10 children, but nine of them died in infancy, after which, she sank into despair and resignation.
Okonkwo called in another diviner, Okagbue Uyanwa, who was a medicine man famous for his knowledge of ogbanje children.
Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis Ekwefi loves Ezinma, but everyone knows she is an ogbanje. Ekwefi believes Ezinma is going to stay on Earth because a medicine man had dug up her iyi-uwa, or the sacred stone that linked her to the spirit world. He had asked Ezinma where the stone was buried, and she led him through the bush.
Finally, she pointed to a spot in the homestead. Okonkwo and the medicine man had dug a huge pit and found the iyi-uwa. Since then, Ezinma had not been sick. Okonkwo prepares the medicine, and Ekwefi tends the medicine pot.
He brings a low stool and a thick mat. Ezinma sits on the stool next to the steaming pot, and Okonkwo throws a thick mat over her head. She struggles to escape from the overpowering steam, but she is held down.
Finally, she emerges drenched in perspiration. Ekwefi dries her off, and Ezinma sleeps. Analysis The stories about the mosquito and the snake-lizard provide comic relief and a backdrop of daily life in the homestead during the intense story about Ezinma.
Mosquito was humiliated by Ear, so he buzzes every time he gets close to her. The snake-lizard also explains daily life when he learns what happens to cooked vegetables.
However, both stories also explain relationships that are out of balance. The feminine Ear rejects the masculine Mosquito. The snake-lizard is completely off balance and commits murder and suicide over cooked vegetables.
Nikkhoo A LITERARY WEBSITE: Things Fall Apart
Perhaps the snake-lizard killed himself because he unjustly murdered his mother. The religious concept of ogbanje is also illustrated in this chapter. The constant birth and death of the child torments its unfortunate parents.
The concept is an example of a religious belief that explains natural phenomena. His quiet, patient voice lends calm to the scene, but also contrasts with the intensity of his mission. This chapter also shows Okonkwo as both a loving and angry father. He cares for Ezinma by collecting materials to make her medicine, but he also threatens her if she does not locate her iyi-uwa.
Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis New Characters: Only the men participate; the women observe as outsiders. The titled elders sit on stools, and a powerful gong sounds. The people hear the terrifying, guttural voices of the egwugwu, or the nine masked spirits of the clan. Each egwugwu represents one of the villages in Umuofia. The leader is named Evil Forest; he is the eldest egwugwu, and smoke pours out of his head.
All the other egwugwu sit in order of seniority after him. His body is made of smoked raffia, and his huge wooden face is painted white except for his round hollow eyes and large charred teeth. He has two powerful horns on the top of his head. Uzowulu is a wife-beater who put his case before the spirits of the ancestors. He has married Mgbafo properly and offered money and yams as bride-price.
He does not owe his in-laws anything, yet they beat him and took Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis away his wife and children. He wants his wife back, or he wants the bride-price returned. He says Uzowulu is a beast because he has beaten Mgbafo every day for nine years. He beat her when she was pregnant, and he beat her when she was ill.
The brothers agree that the children belong to Uzowulu, but they are too young to leave their mother. They say Mgbafo will return if Uzowulu recovers from his madness; however, if he beats Mgbafo again, they will cut off his genitals.
The nine egwugwu confer in their house. The metal gong and the flute sound. Evil Forest settles the dispute. He tells Uzowulu to go to his in-laws with a pot of wine and beg his wife to return. He says it is not bravery when a man fights a woman. Evil Forest tells Odukwe that if Uzowulu supplies wine, Mgbafo should return with him. One elder wonders why such a trifle is put before the egwugwu.
The people say that Uzowulu will not listen to any other decision. Then two other groups present a great land case to the egwugwu. Analysis This chapter introduces and defines the concept of egwugwu. The egwugwu are elders who wear masks and dress as ancestors. They represent the spirits of the ancestors and speak in a strange gutteral language. When the egwugwu appear, the women and children scream and run away. The trial attempts to represent the judicial system among the Igbo people.
The masked spirits of the ancestors judge civil and criminal disputes and serve as a center of political power. The decision of the egwugwu reflects the moral code of the people of Umuofia.
Although the egwugwu are a secret society of men impersonating spirits, they are understood as sacred spirits by the people. It is necessary to understand the role of the egwugwu in order to comprehend the conflict and resolution of the plot of Things Fall Apart. The trial of Uzowulu clearly identifies wife-beating as deviant behavior in the Igbo moral code. Okonkwo is a paradox. He seems to esteem Igbo values since he is working so hard to succeed in Igbo society, yet he himself beats his wives.
The second egwugwu is Okonkwo; therefore, Okonkwo himself sits in judgment against wife-beating. In his recreation of Igbo life, Achebe does not emphasize the political role of women. In the traditional Igbo world, women not only regulated markets, but they also settled civil and marital disputes. In this chapter, the male egwugwu are the authority figures who settle the case against Uzowulu.
Many critics feel the omission of female authority in Igbo society is a weakness in Things Fall Apart. The reader encounters women who cook, braid their hair, and run away from egwugwu. Female characters are not portrayed as powerful market women or judges.
Some critics feel that a balanced portrayal of women and their roles in Igbo society would be more realistic and historically accurate. Chapter 11 Summary and Analysis New Characters: It was a time of famine, and all the birds were invited to a feast in the sky.
Tortoise, a great orator, convinced the birds to take him along. He told them to select new names for the feast. The birds ate the leftovers.
Things Fall Apart
They were very angry and left Tortoise in the sky without wings to fly. Tortoise sent a message with Parrot asking his wife to put soft things around his homestead so he could jump down from the sky without danger. When Tortoise jumped from the sky, he crashed. He did not die, but his shell broke into pieces and a great medicine man had to mend his shell. This story explains why the Tortoise has a bumpy and cracked shell. The night is very dark, and Ekwefi and Ezinma hear the high-pitched voice of Chielo, the priestess of Agbala, prophesying.
She says Agbala wants to see Ezinma in the hills and caves. Chielo carries Ezinma on her back. Ekwefi follows Chielo, but she cannot see anything in the darkness. As Ekwefi runs after the priestess, it seems as if Chielo is running too. She is only a few feet ahead of Ekwefi. Ekwefi is terrified, and Chielo screams. Ekwefi lets Chielo increase the distance between them. They travel all the way to the farthest village in the clan.
Then, Chielo turns around. It is a long journey. Ekwefi is afraid Chielo might see her as the day dawns. She is numb like a sleepwalker. Finally, Chielo heads for the hills. She and Ezinma enter a cave through a tiny hole. Ekwefi waits, and Okonkwo appears behind her. As they stand there together, Ekwefi remembers how she had married her first husband, Anene, because Okonkwo was too poor to marry.
Then two years later, she ran away to marry Okonkwo. She is grateful for his support at the end of this haunting journey. Traditional folklore again explains natural phenomena, and storytelling illustrates the close relationship between Ezinma and her mother. However, the animal fable may send a political message, and the story may be understood as an allegory of resistance.
Tortoise is like a colonial power, and the birds are like colonized people. Tortoise uses language to deceive the birds. Parrot uses language to deceive Tortoise. The conflict is resolved when Tortoise falls upon his own weapons. Perhaps the author is indicating that both language and arms are necessary for oppressed people to resist domination. It is against this backdrop of storytelling that Chielo transports Ezinma to the god Agbala, who is the Oracle of the Hills and Caves.
Chielo speaks in a shrill, high-pitched voice, and she has superhuman strength as she carries Ezinma all night long throughout the nine villages and then back to the hills and caves. Chielo is possessed by the spirit of Agbala, and she is completely different from the ordinary woman she was in the marketplace. Chielo cannot provide the human sympathy, compassion, and companionship Ekwefi needs on the journey because she is devoid of humanity in this situation.
In contrast, Okonkwo emerges as a humble husband and father in this chapter. Okonkwo does not challenge the Oracle; he simply supports his wife and daughter.
- Things Fall Apart Test
- Things Fall Apart
The encounter emphasizes the relationship between the spirit world and the world of the living. Chapter 12 Summary and Analysis New Characters: However, he does not show his feelings. He has gone to the shrine, but he realizes that Chielo has traveled through the nine villages.
He waits at home and returns to the shrine four times. Finally, he finds Ekwefi. While he waits with her, Chielo crawls out of the shrine on her belly like a snake. Ezinma is sleeping on her back. The priestess does not look at Okonkwo or Ekwefi. She returns to the compound and silently places Ezinma on her bed. This ceremony marks the payment of the bride-price. Ibe, the suitor, brings palm wine to the umuada, or the gathering of the daughters in the family.
The central figures are the bride and her mother, but many other women help cook for the whole village. Chielo, the priestess, participates like an ordinary woman. However, as the feast is being prepared, a cow escapes from its corral. Five women stay behind with the cooking pots, while the other women chase the cow back to its owner. The women charge the owner of the cow with a heavy fine. They also identify the women who have not participated in this social action as they are required.
Mgbogo is ill, and Udenkwo has just given birth, so they are excused. Then Ibe, the groom, arrives with the elders of the family. Then Obierika presents kola nuts as a symbol of hospitality to his in-laws. The young men sing praise songs, and Okonkwo is lauded as the greatest wrestler and warrior alive. The young girls and the bride dance. Finally, Ibe takes his bride home to spend seven market weeks with his family.
The in-laws sing songs and pay their respects to prominent men like Okonkwo as they leave. Analysis In the beginning of the chapter, Okonkwo is depicted as a humble father powerless in the face of his god. This portrait is contrasted with Okonkwo at the end of the chapter where he is praised as a great wrestler, warrior, and prominent leader. However, Achebe has been criticized for his treatment of women in the novel.
Some critics feel his female characters are portrayed like possessions who are bought and sold by polygamous men. However, in his re-creation of Igbo life, Achebe does not emphasize the political role of women.
In the traditional Igbo world, women not only regulated markets, but also settled civil and marital disputes. Chapter 13 Summary and Analysis Summary Ezeudu, one of the oldest men in the clan, is dead.