Books and Movies Reviews

Things Fall Apart

Okonkwo, a wealthy, respected warrior, is a member of the Umuofia clan, a lower
Nigerian tribe. In his youth, he brought honor to his village when he defeated Amalinze
the Cat in a wrestling contest. The Cat was undefeated for seven years. Okonkwo’s father,
Unoka, feared the sight of blood, and he wasted money. His wife and children often went
hungry. He was a skilled musician with the flute, and he loved to converse in elaborate
phrases. Unoka died of a shameful illness. Those suffering from swelling stomachs and
limbs are left in the Evil Forest to die. The clan’s earth goddess abhors the disease. He
never took a title, and he left numerous heavy debts unpaid. Okonkwo has taken five
human heads in battle. During important occasions, he drinks palm-wine from hisfirst
One night, the town-crier rings the ogene, a gong. He requests that all the clansmen gather
in the market in the morning. At the gathering, Ogbuefi Ezeugo, a noted orator, states that
someone from the village of Mbaino has murdered “a daughter of Umuofia” while she was
in their market. She was Ogbuefi Udo’s wife. The crowd expresses anger. Okonkwo
travels to Mbaino to deliver the message that they must give a virgin and a young man to
Umuofia or go to war. Umuofia has a fierce reputation for its skill in war and magic.
Mbaino agrees to Umuofia’s terms. The elders give the virgin to Ogbuefi Udo as his wife.
They do not know what to do with the fifteen year old boy, Ikemefuna, so Okonkwo
instructs hisfirst wife to care for him.
Okonkwo fears looking weak like his father. When he was a child, another boy called
Unoka agbala. The word means “woman” as well as a man who has not taken a title.
Therefore, he is extremely demanding of his family. He thinks his twelve year old son
Nwoye is lazy, so he beats and abuses the boy constantly. Okonkwo is wealthy enough to
support three wives and eight children. Each wife has her own hut, …

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