A very dramatic public ceremony is described in detail that involves meting out justice. On the
village commons ppl gather and the rest of the village is behind them. Nine stools are placed for the egwugwu to sit. Egwugwu represent the spirits of their ancestors and are respected members of the community who can dispense justice in trials. Women stood on the edges of the circle. A gong is loudly blasted and the guttural voice of the egwugwu is heard. When he makes his appearance, it is very dramatic as he wears a fearful looking mask and pretends to scare the women. With him , nine other masked men emerge. Okonkwo's wives notice that one of the egwugwu walks with a springy step such as Okonkwo does. They also notice he is absent from where the elders sit.
The leader of the egwugwu speaks some words. The hearing then begins. It involves a man named Uzowulu whose wife was taken away by him by her family. He wishes that either she return or they pay him his bride-price. The
women's brother argues that she has been rescued because she is beaten every day and that she will return on the promise that he never hit her again. After the discussion the leader returns with a verdict. He tells Uzowulu to
bring wine to his wife's family and beg his wife to return to him. He also expresses disgust at
Uzowulu's cowardice in beating women and askes him to accept his brother-in-law's offer.
The egwugwu and their system of justice are similar to Western society's notion of a fair public trial. The men who conduct the hearings are the senior members of the society, and have political as well as economic power, but
they mask themselves to hide their identity, so that a fair judgment can be given. Here each party is given a chance to state their case and then the egwugwu leave to debate a verdict as well as a punishment or remuneration.
The dismissive attitude one of the elders shows for a trial of this kind reveals the lack of power
and respect that women had in this society. Not only does the women's brother speak for her, but
she has no say in the verdict handed to her husband. Whether or not she wants to return is
overlooked by the larger economic reason for her return. Her husband's hand is slapped for being
so violent but other than that he is not punished for his crime, simply fined
One night, Ezinma and her mother are sitting in their hut having their supper. Ekwefi is telling a
story about a tortoise and birds and says why tortoises' shells are un even. When she
finishes, Ezinma begins her story. Half way through, she has to break off because they could
hear Chielo, the priestess of Agbala prophesying, and calling to Okonkwo. Chielo then enters the
hut and insists on talking Ezinma with her since Agbala wanted to see her. Carrying Ezinma on
her shoulders, she takes off into the hills. Ekwefi follows her doggedly, though the path is very
dangerous and risky. Finally they reach the caves and Chielo enters with Ezinma. Ekwefi is
frightened of what might be happening inside. Behind her, she hears a footstep, and finds
Okonkwo, who has followed behind her. Both of them wait together outside the cave for Chielo
to reappear, and Ekwefi is grateful for his presence.
The importance of oral tradition is shown in this chapter with Ekwefi's tale of why the turtle has
a broken shell. Ezinma herself is a budding storyteller although she is young. Stories are told to
reinforce cultural customs and traditions and to explain unknown phenomena.
Here both Ekwefi and Okonkwo defy tradition and customs in order to protect Ezinma from
harm. Even though she is taken by Chielo, who shares a special bond with this young girl,
Ezinma's life is in danger in this scene as it is impossible to know why the Oracle has summoned
her. Ekwefi's llove for her only child is so great that she is prepared to invoke the wrath of the
gods, in order to ensure her child's safety even when Chielo says to her: 'Woman, go home
before Agbala does you harm', she cannot. Okonkwo shows himself to be a responsible and
caring parent as he follows his family into the forest although this image jars with the other
incident that occurred in the forest: the killing of Ikemefuna. The sight of Okonkwo is thrilling to Ekwefi as she realizes how much her daughter means to him and also how much he means to Ekwefi even after all these years. Dispite his "hard shell" Okonkwo has qualities that are admirable. Okonkwo's love for his
daughter is portrayed in him having followed Chielo although he would never openly admit it.
Okonkwo and Ekwefi wait for Ezinma's exit from the cave but it is not until the early morning
hours that Chielo appears with Ezinma. She doe not acknowledge either of them, but simply
walks straight to Ezinma's hut and puts her to bed. The parents follow behind.
That day there is a festive air in the neighborhood as Obierika is celebrating his daughter's uri, a
part of the betrothal ceremony, where the bridegroom brings the palm-wine for the bride's
family, her kin, and extended family. Every family brings food and brides mom is responsible for preparing the food and food is being prepared by the women.
Oberieka is preparing two goats for the soup and admiring another that has been brought in as a
gift. As the women were preparing the soup, they heard a cow got loose. They all go to look for it and all have to leave the house. When they found it the owner was fined.
The rescue of the cow by all the women of the village is another custom that is observed quite
strictly. The price for having a loose animal is steep and meant to maintain a sense of order in the
The number of pots of palm-wine brought by the bridegroom is of great significance since it
denotes the respect they have for the bride's family. Okonkwo therefore dares them to bring
fewer than thirty pots-"I shall tell them my mind if they do" he warns. Fortunately, fifty pots are
brought, which counts as enough respect for the bride's people.
In the middle of the night, the sound of a drum and a cannon announces the death of Ogbuefi
Ezendu, the oldest man in the clan. The whole village attends the funeral as Ogbuefi was a man with three titles, an achievement that was rare. Since he was a warrior, the funeral abounds in warriors, dressed in raffia skirts. Once in
a while an egwugwu spirit makes its appearances from the underworld. Some of them are quite violent and terrifying and often threatening. In the midst of this ceremony, a cry of agony is heard.
Ezudu's son is found lying dead in the crowd shot by Okonkwo who fired his gun and
accidentally hit pierced the young boy's heart.
Okonkwo knows that killing a member of one's own tribe is a crime against the Goddess of the
Earth and therefore he is banished from his village for seven years. He and his family escape to
the village of his mother called Mbanta. After daybreak, the men, dressed in garbs of war, set fire
to his house, not due to hatred, but to get his memory out of town sort to speak
It is ironic that Okonkwo kills the son of a man who had warned him not to kill Ikemefuna, a boy
who was like a son to Okonkwo. That there is no precedent for this kind of accident shows how
singular this event is in the history of the village and how it will have repercussions even though
justice has been dispensed. The chapter's ending proverb that "If one finger brought soil, it soiled
the others," may allude to Okonkwo's crime having even more significant repercussions.
Okonkwo's uncle Uchendu receives Okonkwo and his family's presence.Each of Uchendu's sons contribute three hundred seed yams so that Okonkwo can start his farm. He and his family worked hard on the farm he once had but now that it got burnt down, he lost his spirtsThe isa-ifi ceremony, where Uchendu's youngest son Amikwu, is to marry takes place. Theres a big circle and they start to talk about her virginity
The next day, Uchendu calls Okonkwo and his sons together and makes Okonkwo understand
that he has come to his mother's land for refuge, and that he cannot continue to be displeased
with his present circumstances nor should he sulk or despair about his fall from power. Tells him if he disobey, then he'll displease the dead. He He also ask him to get his family set striaght and get them ready to go back to in 7 yrs
The isa-ifi ceremony is another traditional custom of the Igbo culture. In this culture, a woman's
virginity is of prime importance, and the woman is questioned about her virginity prior to her
marriage. Although men are allowed to marry many times depending on their economic status,
women usually marry only once and must have been faithful during the courtship. Two different
standards for men and women is a continuing motif in this book where even crimes are
categorized into "male" and "female." Due to his exile, Okonkwo rethinks his chi and realizes
that it was not made for great things. He is humbled and aware that what he can achieve in a
lifetime is sometimes limited by unfortunate circumstance.
During Okonkwo's second year of exile, Obierika comes to visit him, bringing with him two
young men carrying sacks of cowries. Okwonko takes him to meet his uncle and while they are
talking, Obierika tells them that the clan of Abame has been wiped out. The story follows that a
white man had come to their village on a bicycle, or what the villagers call an "iron horse," and
although they had been frightened of him at first, they eventually tied his vehicle to the sacred
tree and killed him based on what the Oracle had said about white men who would destroy them.
After some months, more white men had come and after seeing the bicycle tied to the tree they
left. Months later, when the clan was at the market, white men with guns came and proceeded to
shoot all the villagers, except the old and the sick, who had fled. Now the village is deserted.
This chapter reveals the importance that white people will play in the lives of the people of
Africa. Until now, there have been several references but nothing as tangible as the story in this
chapter that shows a conflict between the native peoples and the white men. Both Okonkwo and
Uchendu think it was foolish that they killed this man without knowing his story. This shows the
respect these men have for human life as well as their insistence on having a reason for killing
someone. Even though they based their decision on what their Oracle had predicted, the men do
not see this as good enough reason to kill someone.
By the time Obierika pays his next visit two years later, the missionaries have already invaded
Umuofia, built their church and begun their task of converting the people to their religion. He
also tells Okonkwo that he has seen Nwoye among these people, but Okonkwo refuses to discuss
his son's whereabouts. After talking with Nwoye's mother, Obierika learns of how the
missionaries have converted many people in Mbanta also. One day six men arrived in Mbanta,
one of them white. The white man used an interpreter to preach to them about everyone being
brothers and sons of God and that they should worship the true god, not the false gods of wood
and stone. He also spoke about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The people of Mbanta were annoyed
by this and began to move away, but when the missionaries burst into song, they once more
became interested. Okonkwo had left the scene in disgust, but Nwoye had been struck by these
talks and started mingling with them.
Basically some ppl came and tried to spread Christinaity
The missionaries begin building a church on that land and the people consider the missionaries to
be fools as they have accepted the cursed land. But much to their surprise they build their Church
without any difficulty and thrive in the Evil Forest, attracting new converts daily. Nwoye, at first,
dares not go too close to them as he is afraid of his father's wrath but as the converts grow he
gains more and more confidence. The missionaries are successful in converting a handful of
people to Christianity, among them is a pregnant woman called Nneka. Since she had been only
bearing twins, that have all been destroyed, her family is not too upset about her joining the
missionaries. Finally Nwoye is spotted among them, and Okonkwo is very angry with him. He
ends up beating the truth out of him and is stopped by Uchendu. Nwoye leaves and never returns.
The villagers had thought that the white men wouldn't accept the Evil Forest, but much to their
dismay they do. The villagers assume that they would die, but they don't. The villagers assume
that the glasses worn by one of the missionaries has unbelievable powers, through which he
could see and talk to evil spirits. This chapter reveals the power that the Christians are gaining in
the village and their ability to make many of the village's customs seem outdated and false. The
Evil Forest does not contain the power that the villagers have imbued it with and therefore
people begin to doubt the validity of many customs and beliefs. The first converts are mostly those who are outcasts from society or those who have been judged
harshly or suffered emotional trauma. Twins who were normally killed are now saved by the
missionaries and brought up like regular children.
The church continues to carry on its activities and even begin rescuing the twins from the forest.
Eventually rumors begin to circulate that the church has set up its own government. Although the
two communities have remained separated from one another for a while, now several converts
come into the village and threaten that they will burn the shrines of false gods. Several clan
members beat the converts and then a long period of silence occurs between them while the clan
ignores their activities.
However, a problem arises when the outcasts or the osu of the village begin entering the church,
seeing that the new religion welcomes twins. These outcasts live in the Evil Forest and cannot
marry a free person or cut their hair. When the other converts raise a hue and cry about their
appearance at the church, Mr.Kiaga explains that nobody is a slave before God, and that all men
are created free and equal. Some converts wish to go back to their clan, but Mr.Kiaga is firm and
the converts accept this tolerant doctrine. The outcasts are also accepted.
A year later when one of the outcasts is rumored to have killed the royal python, the most
revered animal in Mbanta, an assembly is formed to decide the course of action. In the end they
decide to ostracize the Christians. The Christian community, which has now become a large
group, are considered outlawed and are debarred from entering the market or collecting water.
Okoli denies that he has killed this sacred animal and Mr.Kiaga tries to solve the problem, but by
the end of the day, Okoli has died. The villagers believe that the Gods have taken their revenge
and therefore they do not have any reason left for harassing the Christians.
This chapter highlights the delicate balance and the increasing conflict growing between these
two disparate groups. Although they attempt to avoid each other, inevitably when they cross
paths, they have violent encounters. More and more the church and its converts are becoming
increasingly aggressive towards the clan and its traditions, ridiculing and degrading its customs
and holy objects. With more of the clan crossing over into Christianity, the village is becoming
less powerful and unified. Even Okonkwo acknowledges the power the church has in increasing
its numbers and worries that his family will eventually jettison the traditional Igbo ways.
His anger towards the Christians is extreme and reveals his separation from other clan members.
He looks for violent solutions whereas they are willing to condone the actions of the church.
Again he frames his solutions for what is to be done as being either "womanly" or "manly
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