Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 12

After Chielo took Ezinma away, Okonkwo was not ready to rest. He made a few trips to the cave before he at long last found and joined Ekwefi holding up outside the cave. When Chielo left Agbala's cave with Ezinma in the early morning hours, she disregarded Okonkwo and Ekwefi and took the sleeping Ezinma home to her bed, with the young lady's parents following behind.

On the next day, the village celebrates the following event which is the marriage of the daughter of Obierika, Okonkwo's close friend. The uri is a custom in which the suitor presents palm-oil to everybody in the bride's close family, her relatives, and her extended family. For this service, fundamentally a woman's custom, the ride's parent, the mother, expected to find other girls in the village and prepare enough food sufficient for the entire group joining in the celebration.

Ekwefi is tired after the events of the previous night. She decides against going to the celebration early until the point that Ezinma wakes and has her breakfast. Okonkwo's other wives and children proceed to Obierika's homestead; youngest wife makes a promise that she would return early enough to prepare Okonkwo's afternoon meal.

Obierika is butchering two goats for the soup and is eyeing another goat that was purchased in a neighboring village as a token of appreciation to the in-laws. He and the other men talk about the magic medicinal powers utilized in another village to that attract individuals to the market and steal from some of them. While the women are getting ready for the feast, they hear a cry a short distance away, confirming that a dairy cow has broken loose. Leaving a couple of ladies to tend the cooking, the rest go to get the cow and drive it back to its owner, who must pay a substantial fine. The ladies organize among themselves to make certain that each lady has taken part in surrounding the cow and preventing it from escaping.

The palm-wine function starts in the evening when everybody assembles and starts to drink the first-delivered wine.  When the new in-laws arrive, they give Obierika's family fifty pots of wine, an extremely respectable number. The uri celebrations proceed into the night and end with much singing and dancing.


This section additionally presents  a few  traditions and practices of the Igbo: the uri function, which is the period of the marriage procedure following the the deliberations and settlement on the value of the bride-price(Chapter 8); the belief in extraordinary powers to attract individuals to a market and even to help to steal from them; the law that expects villagers to control animals or else pay fines; and the custom that requires every single available lady to pursue and take animals that have broken free back to their owner.

However, it is evident that there are individuals with strong personalities in the village and they refuse to blindly follow the customs and practices of the village. For example, Ekwefi exemplifies those women who have refused to blindly follow the customs even when they do not understand them. On the other hand, Obierika also questions the foundations of some of the customs being practiced in the community.

Sexual activity is an insignificant piece of courtship and marriage ceremonies. The chant toward the end of the festival, "when I hold her waist beads / She pretends not to know," is an indication that both men and women enjoy the sexual activities that are associated with these ceremonies.  In the previous part, Okonkwo's defensive and manly presence at the cave at night reminds Ekwefi of her first night of the wedding. Okonkwo "carried her into his bed and... began to feel around her waist for the loose end of her cloth.

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