The land of the living was not far removed from the domain of the ancestors. There was coming and going between then, especially at festivals and also when an old man died, because an old man was very close to the ancestors. A man’s life from birth to death was a series of transition rites which brought him nearer and nearer to his ancestors.
The crime [of murder] was of two kinds, male and female. Okonkwo had committed the female, because it had been inadvertent. He could return to the clan after seven years.
Why should a man suffer so grievously for an offense he had committed inadvertently? But although [Okonkwo] thought for a long time he found no answer. He was merely led into greater complexities. He remembered his wife’s twin children, whom he had thrown away. What crime had they committed?