Things Fall Apart Summary

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Chapter 1
Okonkwo’s main characteristics as he is depicted in the first few chapters are fearless, competitive, strong, manly, and a fighter etc. Okonkwo’s father’s characteristics are weak, lazy, improvident, and incapable of thinking about tomorrow. His father was a debtor and always owned neighbors money. He was tall but very thin and had a slight stoop. Unoka was everything Okonkwo did not want to be. Achebe describes kola without being explained, so we can understand culture little by little. By having wrestling fights and naming ceremonies, it creates a social system of power, as well as responsibility and pride among the people in the village. The quote “Proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten,” means the use of palm oil is used just like proverbs, which are read often by religious people. Chapter 2

Every night was quiet, except for moonlight nights. Darkness held an uncertain terror for the people, even the bravest among them. Children were warned not to whistle at night for the fear of evil spirits. Dangerous animals were even more dangerous in the dark. A snake was never to be called by its name at night, because it would hear. It was called a string. At Mbaino a daughter had gone to a market and was killed. Okonkwo as compensation took Ikemefuna in his household. Okonkwo was a man of action, a man of war, and unlike his father Unoka he could stand to look at blood. Okonkwo would even take the head of a man home after a fight. Okonkwo did not have a great attitude towards women, because they feared him, and so did his children. Because his wives were not strong like him, they suffered. Okonkwo dislikes his son Nwoye so much because already at the age of twelve, he was already causing great anxiety for his incipient laziness. So that was now Okonkwo saw his son Nwoye, and he corrected him by constant nagging, and beating, therefore leaving Nwoye with a sad faced youth. The advantage would be a bigger family, but the disadvantage would be favoritism, and unfair treatment. By not living together each family has a separate life. Okonkwo favors his daughter Ezinma, which he thinks, should have been a boy, while he is ashamed of his son Nwoye, who he thinks is lazy and is not a man. Chapter 3

In this story, women seem week, and not looked up to, but Agbala is a powerful priestess who is looked up to. Rank is observed in the drinking of palm wine, because the people who drink it are the ones who have jobs in hand. Sharecropping was a very slow way of building up a barn of one’s own. For the women in Okonkwo’s family, they grew women crops such as cocoyams, beans, and cassava. When the worst year in living memory occurred in Okonkwo’s life he sown four hundred seeds when the rains dried up and the heat returned. He watched the sky all day for signs of rain clouds and lay awake all night. He tried to protect them from the smoldering earth by making rings of thick sisal leaves around them. But by the end of the day the rings were burned. Okonkwo changed them everyday, and prayed the rain might fall in the night. But the drought continued for eight market weeks and the yams were killed. Unlike other lazy farmers Okonkwo kept trying and was not lazy.  Chapter 4

Okonkwo’s virtues were to be a successful man, and not to be like men who resembled women. Okonkwo’s faults were to contradict men who had no titles, and killed their spirits. Yes, when a man says yes to his chi, his chi agrees as well. Okonkwo became very fond of Ikemefuna. Ikemefuna was treated like everyone else to Okonkwo, and was treated with a heavy hand. Chapter 5 

The feast of the New Year was the fertility feast, which celebrated fertility for women. Unlike most people, Okonkwo did not like the feast so much, so instead he worked on his farm, instead of waiting around for the feast. Not only was Okonkwo not up for the feast, be he was not comfortable having a feast for women. On the same day of the feast for the women, Okonkwo beats his...
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