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Chapters 5 and 6

Chapter 5

The Feast of the New Yam approaches, an occasion for giving thanks to Ani, the Earth goddess. Ani is the most important local deity because she is a source of fertility, arbiter of morality, and in close contact with dead ancestors of the clan. The New Yam Festival is the beginning of the new year, and a time of feasting with many guests. Okonkwo has never felt enthusiastic about feasts, however. He would prefer to be working and beats a wife for cutting off leaves from a banana tree then goes hunting to vent his frustration. The beaten wife mutters something about guns that never go off and Okonkwo runs into the room and discharges the gun in her face. Luckily, no-one is hurt and the Yam Festival proceeds.

Ekwefi, the second wife that Okonkwo nearly shot, originally fell in love with him and ran away from her husband to marry him because she adores wrestling. She prepares the evening meal very quickly the next day because the second day of the Yam Festival is a wrestling ceremony, and she and Okonkwo don't want to miss it. She sends her daughter, Ezinma, who is a favorite with her father, to give fire to the most senior wife and to bring her yams for cooking. The other children including little Obiageli who has broken her pot, return from fetching water and everyone eats the evening meal. Each wife brings a separate dish to Okonkwo.

Chapter 6

The whole village shows up at the ilo, or playground, which has been transformed into a circular wrestling arena with a few wood bleachers. Most people stand and listen to the intoxicating rhythms of the drummers, who are possessed by the spirit of the drums. Eventually the two wrestling teams dance into the ring and opening bouts commence between young boys. On the sidelines, Ekwefi (Okonkwo's second wife) has a conversation with her friend Chielo, the priestess of the Oracle, who is fond of Ezinma and says she thinks Ezinma will survive to adulthood.

The wrestling teams face each other across the ring, twelve to a side. Young men dance out one-by-one to challenge a person from the other side, and wrestle. There are two judges. The last match is between the leader of the teams, who are very evenly matched. Their contest is fierce, until one miscalculates and the other, Okafo, wins. His supporters sing a song in his praise.

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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