Things Fall Apart


Chapter 9 to Chapter 12

Chapter 9

Finally, after three nights, Okonkwo sleeps. He wakes and thinks over the past few days and wonders why he was so upset. He swats at a mosquito in his ear and reflects on a story his mother told him long ago about why mosquitoes always get in one’s ears.

In the morning, Ekwefi hammers on his door to tell him that Ezinma is dying. Okonkwo hurries out of his hut. A brief history of Ekwefi’s misfortunes is told. She has given birth to ten children, nine of whom all died. Ezinma was her last.

A story is related about Ezinma’s iyi-uwa and the superstition of how it is related to her health. The iyi-uwa is a stone believed to link the child to an evil spirit. It is said that by finding the stone and destroying it, the link between the child and the evil spirit can be broken. Digging up the iyi-uwa obviously has not saved Ezinma, however, as the present case illustrates. Now, Okonkwo administers medicine to Ezinma.

This chapter gives bits of history as of yet untold: Okonkwo’s mother’s story about mosquitoes and Ezinma’s health issues, as well as Okonkwo’s wife’s issues with childbearing. It is also seen that Okonkwo is clearly concerned about his daughter, even if he is ill-tempered in showing his concern.

Chapter 10

This chapter presents the village equivalent of a court hearing. It is presided over by the egwugwu, men of the village disguised as ancestral spirits. One of the men is Okonkwo (recognized by his wives for his “springy” step—but they say nothing of his identity).

The case involves Uzowulu and his wife Mgbafo, who has been taken back by her family, Uzowulu’s in-laws. Uzowulu wants his payment (for his wife) returned to him, since he no longer has her. The egwugwu consider the facts, and Evil Forest finally tells Uzowulu to humbly take wine to his in-laws and beg for his wife’s return. The Evil Forest also tells him that he should not fight with a woman.

This last...

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