Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 2

One night, as Okonkwo is settling on his bed, he hears the beat of a drum and the voice of the town crier. The crier summons each man in Umuofia to gather at the commercial center the following morning. Okonkwo ponders whether the crisis concerns war with a neighboring tribe. War does not unnerve Okonkwo since he realizes that it terrified his fainthearted father. In Umuofia's recent war, for instance, Okonkwo brought home his fifth human head.

The following morning, Okonkwo joins the men in the commercial center to hear the message. A speaker, with great oratorical skills, yells a welcome to them by greeting them in every one of the four directions while punching his clenched hand into the air; the gathered men yell accordingly. After quiet returns, he furiously tells the group that an Umuofian lady has been murdered in Mbaino while she was going to the market. The crowd is angry at the news and at long last concurs that Umuofia ought to do what they are always done: Give Mbaino a decision of either going to war with Umuofia or offering Umuofia a young man and a youthful virgin as part of the settlement for the death of the Umuofia lady.

Umuofia’s ability in war is dreaded by its neighbors, who realize that Umuofia won't go to war without first attempting to arrange a peaceful settlement and obtaining permission to go to war from its Oracle. Everybody realizes that a war with Mbaino would be a simple war, so the tribe sends Okonkwo as their emissary to consult with Mbaino; he returns two days later with a young man and a virgin girl offered by Mbaino.

The elders of Umuofia choose that the young lady should live with the man whose spouse was murdered and that the young man, named Ikemefuna, to belong to the community in general. They request Okonkwo to take fourteen-year-old Ikemefuna into his home while the group chooses what to do with him. Okonkwo at that point gives the care of Ikemefuna to his first wife, the mother of Nwoye, oldest child, who is twelve. Ikemefuna is very scared, particularly in light of the fact that he doesn't comprehend what has happened or why he is in Umuofia, isolated from his family. The elders choose that the young boy will live in Okonkwo's family for a long time.

Since Okonkwo is consistently concerned that somebody may think of him as powerless, he leads his family an iron fist and a harsh voice, making everybody fear his short temper. When he was a kid, a mate called his father 'agbala', which translates as a woman and a man who has no title. Okonkwo came detest everything his dad cherished, including tenderness and inaction. Okonkwo sees signs of laziness in his child Nwoye. To remove the image of his father from his sight, Okonkwo beats Nwoye every day.

In his family compound, Okonkwo lives in his very own house, and every one of his three spouses lives in her own house with her kids. The prosperous home has a room where Okonkwo has stashed yams, there is also a shed for goats and hens. Besides, there is a medicine house where Okonkwo keeps the images of his own god and hereditary spirits and where he offers supplications for himself and his family. He works till late on his ranches and anticipates that others will do likewise. In spite of the fact that the individuals from his family don't have his quality, they work without complaint.


In Chapter 2, the audience starts to see culture, beliefs and practices of the Igbo that are especially huge in the story — for instance, the wide division among male and female activities and duties. Honor and achievement depend only on masculine activities and achievements; dealing with children and hens are womanly exercises.

In Okonkwo's fervent desire to be an ideal case of masculinity, he starts to uncover the results of his dread of weaknesses among men — that becomes his major flaw. Okonkwo loathes weaknesses as well as inaction; he commands that his family works on the farm as long as he does without in regards to their lower physical stamina, and that makes him to severally beat his first son, Nwoye.

Achebe continues exposing customary components of Igbo society in Chapter 2. The commercial center meeting represents the Igbo society's respect for what is "masculine" — for instance, the male villagers' loyalty to each other when they get the message of the lady killed by another clan as "a little girl of Umuofia." This scene likewise communicates the ceremonies that accompany town meetings, as the speaker yells the customary greeting of the Umuofia to the gathering while punching his fists in the air and looking at the four directions. Likewise, the audience discovers that Umuofia religious customs incorporate the worship of wooden 'gods' and speaking to one’s the ancestral spirits.

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