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Chapters 18 and 19

Chapter 18

The clan is not overly worried by the new religion because its adherents are all efulefu, or worthless men. When the missionaries dare to venture into the village and claim in loud voices that the gods are dead and that they plan to burn their shrines, the clan seizes these men and beats the offenders until they stream with blood.

The villagers hear rumors that the missionaries have imported a government as well as a religion, but this seems like a fairy-tale which people ignore. Besides, the little church in Mbanta has internal troubles over the question of admitting outcasts, or osu, who decide to join when they hear twins and other such abominations have been admitted. An osu is a person dedicated to god, a thing set apart, who can never marry the free-born and who must live in a special area of the village, wearing the long matted dirty hair that is the mark of his forbidden caste. Some converts revert when the outcasts join, but the rest are convinced by Mr. Kiaga's firmness in accepting the outcasts. He also makes the outcasts shave their hair, even though they are afraid that such an action will cause them to die. Nearly all the other outcasts join once they see that the first two have been accepted.

One outcast brings the church into serious conflict with the clan when he apparently kills, on purpose, a royal python-the most revered animal in the region, believed to be an emanation of the god of water, and normally allowed to go wherever it chose, even into people's beds. After much discussion about the best course, the clan decides to ostracize the Christians. They prevent them from drawing water at the stream or going to market. However, when the man responsible for killing the python, Okoli, drops dead the previous night the clan decides the gods can still fight their own battles and see no more reason to molest the Christians.

Chapter 19

Okonkwo is finally able to return to Umuofia. He has prospered in his motherland, but knows he would have done even better in his bold and warlike fatherland. He asks Obierika to build two huts for him, and waits for the dry season when his seven years will be officially up. He then has his wives prepare a great feast to thank his mother's kinsmen for their help, and slaughters three goats. Uchendu breaks the kola nut and makes the first toast to the power of having kinsmen. It is so huge a feast that many kinsmen whistle in surprise. The people celebrate their community, and the power of family, particularly since it is under threat by the new religion. They say to Okonkwo, "Thank you for calling us together."

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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