Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 24

Okonkwo and the others are set free. Watchful clansmen don't welcome them but move out of their way. Okonkwo's male relations and companions assemble at his hut, however, they see the whip marks that had remained on his back, and no one talks with him apart from Obierika.

A meeting has been scheduled for the following day. In great expectation, Okonkwo can't rest, the "bitterness in his heart ... now mixed with a kind of childlike excitement." Okonkwo is getting ready for war, and he swears retribution. On the off chance that Umuofia will battle, he will go along with them. If not, he will retaliate for himself.

People come to the gathering place "from every quarter of the nine villages." Okika, one of the six detainees, addresses the group, complaining that their gods are unhappy and are sobbing since some tribe members have joined the British. He pledges that they have to battle, despite the fact that it implies that they will have to "shed the blood of a clansman."

The gathering is interrupted by court messengers who have come with orders requiring the meeting to stop. With his machete, Okonkwo slashes and kills the leader of the group on behalf of the gathering. However, the villagers provide an opportunity for the other messengers to escape. Okonkwo now understands that there will be no war.


Okonkwo's arrival captures the village and the air is tense. He is surrounded by his people, yet there is no contact or interaction among them. He will deliver a fight for revenge, regardless of whether it implies doing it alone. The narrator noticed that the gathering place is filling with individuals from the majority of the nine villages. During the meeting, apart from talking to Obierika, Okonkwo does not speak to anyone. He has isolated himself from the clan members and will go along with them only when they operate according to his ideals.

Okonkwo's outrage generates from his tragic flaw: his fear that he may appear weak just like his father. Okonkwo feels that there are many members of the society who do not act in the most suitable ways, they fail to show the courage and manly personality that he desires. As a result, Okonkwo feels that the best decision is for him to separate from the other members of his clan. Okonkwo, thus, is caught between his personal feelings and the values of his village.

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