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Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe

Chapters 20–21

Chapters 17–19

Chapters 20–21, page 2

page 1 of 2

How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us?

(See Important Quotations Explained)

Summary: Chapter 20

Okonkwo has planned since his first year in exile to rebuild his compound on a larger scale. He also wants to take two more wives and get titles for his sons. He has managed to get over Nwoye’s disgraceful departure, but he still regrets that Ezinma is a girl. He asked that she wait to marry in Umuofia, after his exile, to which she consented. She even persuaded her sister, Obiageli, to do the same. Okonkwo hopes to attract interest when he returns with two beautiful, marriageable daughters.

However, Umuofia is much changed after seven years. The church has grown in strength and the white men subject the villagers to their judicial system and rules of government. They are harsh and arrogant, and Okonkwo cannot believe that his clan has not driven the white men and their church out. Sorrowfully, Obierika explains that the church has weakened the ties of kinship and that it is too late to drive the white men out. Many of the clansmen are now on the white man’s side. Okonkwo observes that the white man is very shrewd because he came in peace and appeared to have only benevolent interests in the Africans, who thus permitted him to stay. They discuss the story of Aneto, who was hanged by the government after he killed a man with whom he had a dispute. Aneto had been unsatisfied with the new court’s ruling on the dispute because it ignored custom. Obierika and Okonkwo conclude their discussion on a fatalistic note, sitting in silence together.

Summary: Chapter 21

Many people of Umuofia are not entirely unhappy with the white men’s influence on their community. They have set up trading posts, and money is flowing into the village. Mr. Brown, the white missionary, restrains his flock from antagonizing the clan. He and Akunna, one of the clan’s leaders, meet often to debate and discuss their respective religious views. Akunna explains that the clan also has just one god, Chukwu, who created the world and the other gods. Mr. Brown replies that there are no other gods. He points to a carving and states that it is not a god but a piece of wood. Akunna agrees that it is a piece of wood, but wood created by Chukwu. Neither converts the other, but each leaves with a greater understanding of the other’s faith.

Mr. Brown builds a hospital and a school. He begs the villagers to send their children to school and warns them that if they do not, strangers who can read and write will come to rule them. His arguments are fairly effective and his hospital wins praise for its treatments. When Okonkwo first returns to Umuofia, Mr. Brown goes to tell him that Nwoye is in a training college for teachers. Okonkwo chases him away with threats of violence. Not long afterward, Mr. Brown’s health begins to fail, and, sad, he leaves his flock.

Okonkwo’s daughters attract many suitors, but to his grave disappointment, his clan takes no particular interest in his return. The ozo initiation ceremony occurs only once in three years, meaning that he must wait two years to initiate his sons. He deeply regrets the changes in his once warlike people.

Analysis: Chapters 20–21

Okonkwo’s status as a warrior and farmer and his clan’s perception of him have changed since his exile. His increasing loss of power and prestige brings him great anxiety. Any remaining doubt that Okonkwo is slightly crazy is quelled when we learn that he has been fantasizing about, and seriously planning for, his triumphant return to his village since his departure. Okonkwo has great expectations for himself—in Chapter 20 we are told that, “he saw himself taking the highest title of the land.”

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important facts

by adamracz95, March 03, 2013

What is the name of Okonkwo’s motherland?
(C) Mbanta

2. What holy animal does Okonkwo’s clan suspect the Christians have killed and eaten?
(B) A python

3. What is the name of the first missionary who comes to Umuofia?
(A) Mr. Brown

4. How many villages does Umuofia comprise?
(C) Nine

5. Whom did Okonkwo beat in his legendary wrestling match?
(D) Amalinze the Cat

6. In what country does Things Fall Apart take place?
(B) Nigeria

7. What do the inhabitants of Mban... Read more

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1467 out of 1531 people found this helpful

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

by touhidsm, May 06, 2014

Read Full Answer at

http://josbd.com/Things_Fall_Apart.html


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

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Help

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.

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