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  1. Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo is a wealthy and respected warrior of the Umuofia clan, a lower Nigerian tribe that is part of a consortium of nine connected villages. He is haunted by the actions of Unoka, his cowardly and spendthrift father, who died in disrepute, leaving many village debts unsettled. In response, Okonkwo became a clansman ...

    • Setting
    • Plot summary
    • Plot

    The bulk of the novel takes place in Umuofia, a cluster of nine villages on the lower Niger. Umuofia is a powerful clan, skilled in war and with a great population, with proud traditions and advanced social institutions.

    One day, a neighboring clan commits an offense against Umuofia. To avoid war, the offending clan gives Umuofia one virgin and one young boy. The girl is to become the offended party's new wife. The boy, whose name is Ikemefuna, is to be sacrificed, but not immediately. He lives in Umuofia for three years, and during that time he lives under Okonkwo's roof. He becomes like a part of Okonkwo's family. In particular, Nwoye, Okonkwo's oldest son, loves Ikemefuna like a brother. But eventually the Oracle calls for the boy's death, and a group of men take Ikemefuna away to kill him in the forest. Okonkwo, fearful of being perceived as soft-hearted and weak, participates in the boy's death. He does so despite the advice of the clan elders. Nwoye is spiritually broken by the event. Okonkwo is shaken as well, but he continues with his drive to become a lord of his clan. He is constantly disappointed by Nwoye, but he has great love for his daughter Ezinma, his child by his second wife Ekwefi. Ekwefi has born ten children, but only Ezinma has survived. She loves the girl fiercely. Ezinma is sickly, and sometimes Ekwefi fears that Ezinma, too, will die. Late one night, the powerful Oracle of Umuofia brings Ezinma with her for a spiritual encounter with the earth goddess. Terrified, Ekwefi follows the Oracle at a distance, fearing harm might come to her child. Okonkwo follows, too.

    Later, during a funeral for one of the great men of the clan, Okonkwo's gun explodes, killing a boy. In accordance with Umuofia's law, Okonkwo and his family must be exiled for seven years.

  2. Things Fall Apart Summary. As a young man, Okonkwo becomes one of the greatest wrestlers in the clan. Okonkwo values strength and aggression, traits he believes are masculine, and his worst fear is to be thought of as feminine or weak, like his father, Unoka. Okonkwo's wealth and status within the tribe grow, and he becomes one of the greatest ...

  3. Book Summary. Things Fall Apart is about the tragic fall of the protagonist, Okonkwo, and the Igbo culture. Okonkwo is a respected and influential leader within the Igbo community of Umuofia in eastern Nigeria. He first earns personal fame and distinction, and brings honor to his village, when he defeats Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contest.

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    • Part I
    • Part II
    • Part III

    Part I introduces readers to the main character, the Igbo warrior Okonkwo, who lives in Nigeria in the 1890s. Okonkwo is the son of a lazy debtor, Unoka, who was irresponsible and seemed to never work. Embarrassed by his bad heritage, Okonkwo sets out to become a great man, winning early fame as a wrestler by throwing Amalinze the Cat. On the strength of this fame, he's able to borrow seeds from a man named Nwakibie in order to start a farm. After years of hardship, he's able to pay his debt and become a wealthy farmer with several barns full of yams (a sign of great social status). In the process, he also marries three wives, who bear him many children, including Nwoye, his eldest son, and Ezinma, his favorite, whom he often wishes were a boy. In recognition of Okonkwo's great wealth and status, he's charged with the care of a prisoner of war, a young boy named Ikemefuna who was sacrificed by his home village of Mbaino so they might avoid war with Umuofia, Okonkwo's clan, after men...

    In his mother's village of Mbanta, Okonkwo is given some land and yam seeds in order to build a new farm and compound. He's well received in the village, but he falls into despair, so one of the elders has to explain to him that his suffering isn't nearly so terrible as those who are exiled from their villages forever or who bear sets of twins, who are left to die in the Evil Forest, because the villagers think that twins are like demons. In his second year of exile, his friend Obierika comes to visit, bringing him stories of how white men on "iron horses" (bicycles) came to their village, and because the Oracle said the white men were evil locusts come to destroy them, the villagers killed the white man, and the man's friends killed one of the villagers, a man named Abame. The visit ends with Obierika giving Okonkwo some of the money from the sale of his yams and yam seeds, which would have rotted in Umuofia had Obierika not sold them. Two years later, Obierika again visits Okonkwo...

    Part III opens with Okonkwo planning a glorious return to Umuofia. He has convinced Ezinma, who has been dubbed the "Crystal of Beauty" in Mbanta, to refuse offers of marriage until their family returns to Umuofia. However, when the exile ends, Okonkwo is disappointed to learn the missionaries have built a church in his village, where white men have imposed their foreign form of government on the villagers. Mr. Brown, a kind Christian man who preached compromise and peace with the villagers, is replaced by Mr. Smith, who takes a more aggressive approach. Upset by the changes that have taken place in Umuofia, the egwugwuburn the white man's church to the ground. The group's leaders, including Okonkwo, are subsequently arrested and humiliated by a group of court messengers, who demand payment to set the warriors free. Without the support of the villagers, Okonkwo decides to take matters into his own hands. After he kills the head messenger, he hangs himself in his compound. Suicide is...

  5. Read our full plot summary and analysis of Things Fall Apart, chapter by chapter break-downs, and more. See a complete list of the characters in Things Fall Apart and in-depth analyses of Okonkwo, Nwoye, Ezinma, Mr. Brown, Ikemefuna, and Unoka. Here's where you'll find analysis of the literary ...

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