How does Ikemefuna become Okonkwo’s adopted son?
Ikemefuna becomes Okonkwo’s adopted son through a dispute between the village of Umuofia and a neighboring village, Mbaino. After a woman from Umuofia is murdered in the Mbaino market, Okonkwo travels to Mbaino and demands that the village surrender a virgin and a young man in order to avoid war with Umuofia. Mbaino complies, and upon return to Umuofia, Okonkwo turns the young man, Ikemefuna, over to his first wife for safekeeping.
Why is Ezinma so special to Okonkwo?
Ezinma is the only child of Okonkwo’s second wife, Ekwefi, and she is also Okonkwo’s favorite daughter. Okonkwo feels drawn to Ezinma for her precocious intelligence and her strong will. More than any of Okonkwo’s other children, Ezinma possesses all of the personality traits required to grow into a distinguished member of society. In other words, she is the most masculine of Okonkwo’s children, and Okonkwo frequently laments that she was not born a boy.
Why does Nwoye convert to Christianity?
Nwoye converts to Christianity largely to reject the excessive standard of masculinity his father wants him up to uphold. Nwoye is not at all like his father, and Okonkwo constantly punishes him for being different. Stifled by his father’s expectations, Nwoye runs away and joins the European church. Nwoye’s conversion also provides him an opportunity to learn reading and writing, which, along with the poetry of the Bible, feeds his love of storytelling.
What causes Okonkwo’s exile from Umuofia?
Okonkwo’s gun goes off unexpectedly during Ogbuefi Ezeudu’s funeral, accidentally killing the dead man’s son. Killing a clansman, even unintentionally, constitutes a crime against the earth goddess. To compensate for the crime and protect the rest of the villagers from the earth goddess’s wrath, Ezeudu’s descendants burn Okonkwo’s compound, slaughter his livestock, and banish him from the village for a period of seven years.
Why does Okonkwo hang himself?
After Okonkwo and others return from a period of imprisonment by the Europeans, members of the nine villages gather to discuss a course of action. Four European messengers appear and try to stop the meeting, and Okonkwo immediately kills one of them. But instead of applauding the murder, as he expects they will, Okonkwo’s clansmen grow furious. Okonkwo sees his clansmen’s reaction as a sign that no one will stand with him in defense of the nine villages. Rather than face the ultimate emasculation of succumbing to the white men, Okonkwo returns to his compound and hangs himself.
Why are the villagers shocked when Okonkwo beats his wife during the Week of Peace?
The villagers are shocked when Okonkwo beats his wife during the Week of Peace because these days mark a sacred time during which the villagers of Umuofia honor the earth goddess and secure her protection and blessings for the year. As the narrator explains, “It was unheard of to beat somebody during the sacred week.” Any violation of peace during the week puts the community at risk for a bad harvest—or worse. For his crime, Okonkwo is fined one length of cloth and one hundred cowries, and he is asked to sacrifice one of his goats and one of his hens.
Why are the villagers excited whenever the locusts come?
The villagers are excited whenever the locusts come because the locusts are a delicious, plentiful source of food. For this reason, the villagers view the locusts as a blessing rather than a nuisance. According to the elders, the locusts are guarded in a cave by a race of “stunted men” who release the locusts once a year for seven years, one time per generation.
Why does Nwoye admire Ikemefuna?
Nwoye admires Ikemefuna because Ikemefuna possesses many skills Nwoye lacks and Ikemefuna is an engaging presence to be around. Nwoye looks up to Ikemefuna as an older brother. Ikemefuna knows how to set traps to capture rodents and make flutes out of bamboo sticks. Even though Nwoye knows most of the folk tales Ikemefuna tells, Ikemefuna’s versions have a fresh spin to them since he comes from a different clan, and this fascinates Nwoye.
What warning does Ogbuefi Ezeudu give Okonkwo about killing Ikemefuna?
Ogbuefi Ezeudu, a village elder, warns Okonkwo that he should not kill Ikemefuna because Ikemefuna regards Okonkwo as his father and to kill him would be a sin. Ogbuefi Ezeudu clarifies the warning by adding that even though the Oracle sanctioned Ikemefuna’s death and Ikemefuna is not Okonkwo’s biological son, Okonkwo should not bear a hand in the boy’s death since the “boy calls [him] father.” Okonkwo would essentially be committing an act of filicide by killing the boy.
Why does Okonkwo kill Ikemefuna?
Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna because he doesn’t want to appear weak in front of his fellow clansmen. Ogbuefi Ezeudu, a village elder, informs Okonkwo that the Oracle has decreed that Ikemefuna must be killed but that Okonkwo should not be the one to kill him, since Ikemefuna regards Okonkwo as a father. When Okonkwo and a group of clansmen take Ikemefuna to the woods to be killed, a clansman’s blow fails to do the job, and the clansman yells to Okonkwo for help. Afraid of appearing weak, Okonkwo deals the fatal blow to Ikemefuna despite Ogbuefi Ezeudu’s warning.
Why do the villagers burn Okonkwo’s buildings and kill his animals?
The villagers burn Okonkwo’s buildings and kill his animals to purge the village of his sin, which was the accidental killing of a village elder’s son, an act the villagers view as a crime against the earth goddess. In order to cleanse the earth of Okonkwo’s wrongdoing, his belongings must be burned and his animals destroyed. Even though the villagers’ actions seem to be a form of revenge or punishment, there is no malicious intent in their actions; they are merely “taking care of business.”
Why are the villagers confused by Mr. Brown’s ideas?
The villagers are confused by Mr. Brown’s ideas because his ideas are, on the surface, illogical. Mr. Brown’s explanation of the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity, which states that God exists in three forms—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—confuses the villagers. They do not understand how the Holy Trinity, essentially three beings, can be accepted as one god. The villagers also do not understand why Mr. Brown condemns their worshipping of multiple gods as sacrilege but worships what they view as three gods himself.
What is an egwugwu, and why are the villagers horrified when Enoch unmasks one?
According to tradition, any village ancestor who has been buried in the earth returns during an annual ceremony as an egwugwu. In reality, an egwugwu is a clansman wearing a mask representing an ancestor who has come back from the dead. As such, unmasking an egwugwu is viewed as the equivalent to killing the returned ancestral spirit and “reduc[ing] its immortal prestige in the eyes of the uninitiated.” For this reason, the villagers are shocked and horrified when Enoch unmasks one of the egwugwu.
Why does Okonkwo kill the District Commissioner’s messenger?
Okonkwo kills the District Commissioner’s messenger to rebel against the Commissioner and the missionaries. Prior to this event, the Commissioner tricked the clansmen and put them in jail for burning down his church. Knowing the clansmen might retaliate, the Commissioner sent court messengers to try to stop Okonkwo and the other clansmen from organizing an uprising against him. Okonkwo’s killing of the messenger sends a clear message to the Commissioner.
Why can’t Okonkwo be buried?
Okonkwo can’t be buried because he committed suicide. As the clansman tells the District Commissioner, “It is an abomination for a man to take his own life . . . an offense against the Earth.” For this reason, the clansman cannot bury Okonkwo’s body since it is now considered “evil.” Putting something evil into the ground is an offense to the earth goddess and would most certainly curse the ground and the clan.