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Chapter 13

The ekwe, or large drum, wakes everyone by booming out a message before dawn the next day. It is announcing the death of Ezeudu, the priest who had visited Okonkwo before Ikemefuna's death. Ezeudu was a great man, so the whole clan comes to his funeral. There is wild, violent dancing and many appearances by ancestral spirits as they give him a warrior's funeral. There is a lot of coming and going between the land of the egwugwu or spirits and the land of the living when an old man dies, and Ezeudu had been one of the oldest men in the clan. Since he had taken three titles in his life, an uncommonly high number, he was to be buried after dark with a glowing brand to light the ceremony. Before this, however, the dancing reaches a fever pitch and the men fire their guns in a final salute. From the center of the fury there is a cry of agony-the dead man's sixteen year old son is lying in a pool of his own blood, killed by a piece of iron from Okonkwo's gun.

Okonkwo must now flee the village, because it is a crime to kill a clansman. Because he did it inadvertently, it is a "female crime," not a "male crime," and he can return to the clan after seven years. That night, he puts his most valuable possessions into head loads, Obierika and other friends help him move his yams into Obierika's barn, and then he and his family flee to Okonkwo's motherland, a place called Mbanta.

At daybreak, a large crowd of men dressed for war storm Okonkwo's compound and destroy it. They don't hate Okonkwo, but they must carry out the justice of the earth goddess and cleanse the land which Okonkwo has polluted. After it is done, Obierika, who participated in the destruction, reflects on why a man should suffer so much for an inadvertent act. He resigns himself to the fact that if they didn't carry out the goddess' justice she would loose her wrath on the entire clan.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapters 1 and 2
Chapters 3 and 4
Chapters 5 and 6
Chapters 7 and 8
Chapters 9 and 10
Chapters 11 and 12
Chapter 13
Chapters 14 and 15
Chapters 16 and 17
Chapters 18 and 19
Chapters 20 and 21
Chapters 22 and 23
Chapters 24 and 25
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25


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