Things Fall Apart


Chapter 13 to Chapter 16

Chapter 13

The death of Ezeudu is announced. The news gives Okonkwo a chill. It is Ezeudu who told Okonkwo to have “no hand” in Ikemefuna’s death. Because of Ezeudu’s status (he was a great man), the whole clan is at his funeral.

During the funeral dirge, when the men fire their guns in a final salute, Okonkwo’s explodes and a piece of the metal pierces the heart of Ezeudu’s young son. The boy dies in a pool of blood. Nothing like it had ever happened before. The ramifications, however, are clear: Okonkwo must leave the village. He has committed a crime against the earth goddess: killing a clansman (albeit by accident). He and his family pack their things and depart.

In the morning, men dressed in war garb burn Okonkwo’s huts and slaughter his animals as an act of reparation. They bear Okonkwo no ill will; what they do is simply meant to appease the earth goddess.

Okonkwo and his family return to his motherland, the village Mbanta. There they must stay for seven years. Then they can return to Umuofia.

The chapter (and the first part of the novel) concludes with Obierika, who has taken part in the cleansing (demolition) of Okonkwo’s belongings, sitting and contemplating why one man should be punished so grievously for an accident. The gods appear to be somewhat harsh in his eyes. Indeed, here is a man who wonders at the superstitions that drive his tribe.

Chapter 14

This chapter begins the second part of the novel. It describes Okonkwo’s reception in Mbanta. Okonkwo is given a plot of land, and he and his family work hard on the farm. Work, however, is no longer a pleasure for Okonkwo. When he is not working, he dozes in a kind of half-sleep. He has lost his passion.

Okonkwo’s uncle, the old Uchendu, speaks to him. He calls Okonkwo a child because he does not understand the deeper mysteries of life. For example, one of the beliefs of the people is that a man belongs to his fatherland and not to his...

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