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Chapters 7 and 8

Chapter 7

Ikemefuna has lived in Okonkwo's household for three years, and has had a very positive influence on Nwoye-the younger boy is now much more masculine, and feigns grumbling but is inwardly delighted when asked to do difficult masculine tasks such as chop wood for one of Okonkwo's wives. Okonkwo is very pleased at the change, since he sees it as of key importance to be able to control women-folk. He encourages the boys to sit in his obi or hut as he tells them masculine stories of violence, bloodshed, and local history. Nwoye knows it is important to be a man but secretly prefers his mother's stories-particularly one of a quarrel between the Earth and Sky in which a Vulture is sent to plead for rain from the Sky with a song of suffering of the sons of men.

That year the locusts descend on the village while Okonkwo and the boys are working in the fields. Everyone feels joy because it is a sight full of power and beauty-only the oldest in the village can remember the last time the locusts came. When dew falls and wets the insects' wings, everyone goes out to catch locusts by the dozen and roast and eat them. Some days later, while Okonkwo is happily crunching a locust, the respected elder Ogbuefi Ezeudu comes to the hut and asks to have a word with Okonkwo outside. He warns Okonkwo that the Oracle has decided that Ikemefuna must be killed, and tells Okonkwo not to have a hand in it because the boy calls him father.

The next day a group of elders visit Okonkwo. He tells Ikemefuna he is to be taken home the next day, and Nwoye bursts into tears. Ikemefuna can barely remember his home, but has a bad premonition. A procession of finely dressed men with sheathed machetes arrive from the village, and Okonkwo and Ikemefuna join them. Ikemefuna carries a jar of palm-wine on his head, and the men have him walk in the middle. Ikemefuna's mind wanders to his original family. The men discourage him from glancing behind his shoulder, and he grows afraid. Finally, a villager cuts him down from behind with a machete. He runs to Okonkwo, shouting, "My father, they have killed me," and Okonkwo delivers the final blow, dazed and afraid of being thought weak.

When Okonkwo walks in that night, Nwoye knows that Ikemefuna is dead, and something snaps inside him.



Chapter 8

Okonkwo does not eat for the next two days-all he does is drink palm wine. He can't sleep at night, and Nwoye is scared of him and slips away from his father's obi. Finally Ezinma brings him food and his snuff equipment. He thinks to himself several times that she should have been a boy. Okonkwo wishes he could work to distract himself, but it's the wrong season so he goes to visit his friend Obierika instead. At first he talks about his worry that Nwoye is not manly enough, but then they reach the subject of Ikemefuna, and his friend tells him that killing the boy who called him father displeases the Earth. In the middle of their conversation, a third man rushes in to tell the of the death of an old man in the neighboring village, and the immediate, apparently self-willed, death of his oldest wife right after she paid her last respects to her husband.

Okonkwo begins to feel better thanks to the change of subject, and decides to go tap some of his palm trees. Obierika reminds him to come to the bride-price negotiations for his daughter that evening. When Okonkwo returns, the twenty-five year old suitor and his family are there, and Akueke, the ripe young sixteen year old bride, is summoned to bring kola nuts to the men. She shakes hands, then leaves to help her mother cook, and there is an erotic description of her removing her waist beads so that they don't fall in the fire. Back in the men's hut, the suitor's father and Obierika use a bundle of broomsticks to negotiate a price of twenty cowries for Akueke. Then they tell jokes, including one that involves punning the word for "white man" with "leper."

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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