Skip over navigation

Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe

Chapters 7–8

Chapters 4–6

Chapters 7–8, page 2

page 1 of 2

Summary: Chapter 7

And at last the locusts did descend. They settled on every tree and on every blade of grass. . . .

(See Important Quotations Explained)

Ikemefuna stays with Okonkwo’s family for three years. He seems to have “kindled a new fire” in Nwoye, who, much to Okonkwo’s pleasure, becomes more masculine in his attitude. Okonkwo knows that his son’s development is a result of Ikemefuna’s influence. He frequently invites the two into his obi to listen to violent, masculine stories. Although Nwoye misses his mother’s stories, he knows that he pleases his father when he expresses disdain for women and their concerns.

To the village’s surprise, locusts descend upon Umuofia. They come once in a generation and will return every year for seven years before disappearing for another lifetime. The village excitedly collects them because they are good to eat when cooked. Ogbuefi Ezeudu pays Okonkwo a visit, but he will not enter the hut to share the meal. Outside, he informs Okonkwo in private that the Oracle has decreed that Ikemefuna must be killed. He tells Okonkwo not to take part in the boy’s death, as Ikemefuna calls him “father.” Okonkwo lies to Ikemefuna, telling him that he will be returning to his home village. Nwoye bursts into tears.

During the long walk home with the men of Umuofia, Ikemefuna thinks about seeing his mother. After hours of walking, a man attacks him with a machete. Ikemefuna cries to Okonkwo for help. Okonkwo doesn’t wish to look weak, so he cuts the boy down. When Okonkwo returns home, Nwoye intuits that his friend is dead. Something breaks inside him for the second time in his life; the first time was when he heard an infant crying in the Evil Forest, where newborn twins are left to die.

Summary: Chapter 8

Okonkwo sinks into a depression. He feels weak, and he cannot sleep or eat. When Ezinma brings him his evening meal three days later, she tells him that he must finish everything. He repeatedly wishes that she were a boy, and he berates himself for acting like a “shivering old woman.” He visits his friend Obierika and congratulates Maduka on his successful wrestling. Obierika, in turn, requests that Okonkwo stay when his daughter’s suitor arrives to determine a bride-price. Okonkwo complains to Obierika that his sons are not manly enough and says that he would be happier if Ezinma were a boy because she has “the right spirit.” He and Obierika then argue over whether it was right of Okonkwo to partake in Ikemefuna’s death.

Okonkwo begins to feel revived a bit. He decides that his unhappiness was a product of his idleness—if Ikemefuna had been murdered at a busier time of the year, he, Okonkwo, would have been completely undisturbed. Someone arrives to report the death of the oldest man in a neighboring village. Strangely, the old man’s wife died shortly thereafter. Okonkwo questions the man’s reputed strength once he learns how attached he had been to his wife.

Okonkwo sits with Obierika while Obierika bargains his daughter’s bride-price with the family of her suitor. Afterward, Obierika and his future son-in-law’s relatives talk about the differing customs in other villages. They discuss the practice of, and skill at, tapping palm trees for palm-wine. Obierika talks about hearing stories of men with skin as white as chalk. Another man, Machi, pipes in that such a man passes through the village frequently and that his name is Amadi. Those who know Amadi, a leper, laugh—the polite term for leprosy is “the white skin.”

Are you ready for the test?
Quick Quiz   →

More Help

Previous Next
Culture of the Igbo society in the light of the novel Things Fall Apart.

by touhidsm, May 06, 2014

Read Full Answer at

Answer: Things Fall Apart is a novel written in English by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. The novel depicts the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia - one of a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria inhabited by the Igbo people. It focuses on his family and personal history, the customs and society of the Igbo and the influence of British colonialism and Christian m... Read more


47 out of 53 people found this helpful


by audicolen, May 19, 2015

Question 1.1.
In Things Fall Apart, Part Three, how is Reverend Smith different from Mr. Brown?

(Points : 2)

Mr. Brown believed in compromise and accommodation while Reverend Smith believes he must wipe out what he views as the ignorance.

Mr. Brown made many enemies while in Umuofia while Reverend Smith tries to make friends.

Mr. Brown’s primary goal was to build the church while Reverend Smith’s goal is to build schools.

Mr. Brown encouraged fighting while Reverend Smith encourages prayer.

Read more

class names for the people

by whyineeddothis, May 28, 2015

The Osu are the title-less, worthless people, not the efulefu, I am fairly sure the efulefu are the Christians