Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe

by

Karim Chandra

Chapter 8
Summary

For two days after Ikemefuna's demise, Okonkwo can't eat or rest; his mind returns over and over to the boy who was like a child to him. On the third day, when his most loved little girl Ezinma presents to him the food he, at last, asked for, he wishes to himself that she was a boy. He is disturbed how a man with his fight record can respond like a lady over the passing of a boy. 

Okonkwo visits his friend Obierika, planning to escape from the thoughts of Ikemefuna. He lauds Obierika's child Maduka for his triumph in the wrestling match and grumbles about his own child's wrestling interests and rationally compares him to his own particular weak father, Unoka. To counter these thoughts with his very own masculine deed, Okonkwo asks his friend for what valid reason he didn't join the other men in the surrender of Ikemefuna. Obierika answers that he "had something better to do." He communicates his dissatisfaction with Okonkwo's role in executing Ikemefuna. The action, he says, will annoy the Earth, and the earth goddess will get her revenge.

Analysis

In the scenes of Chapter 8, the audience can start to see Okonkwo's developing wedge from his family and from his from peers in the village. Okonkwo requests that Nwoye sits with him in his hut, looking for attestation that he has done nothing wrong by executing Ikemefuna. However, it is sad that his son is pulling away from him.

Indeed, even Okonkwo's close friend, Obierika, dislikes his role in the murder of Ikemefuna. Obierika emerges as a direct, moderate man and as a result of these qualities is a direct opposite to Okonkwo. Obierika addresses their local laws and trusts that a few changes can enhance their village. Okonkwo tends to stick to the traditional teachings and practices without thinking about the costs, as is the case with the killing of Ikemefuna. Basically, Obierika is a man of thought and questioning many actions before acting, while Okonkwo is a man of action with little or no questions.

Notwithstanding, the two men appear to concur that masculinity does not enable a man and his wife to be inseparable and outwardly showing affection for each other. (A village woman who has died before her husband's death can be publicly announced, but a wife's death soon after her husbands may be a sign that she is guilty of killing him.) The couple is known to be relatively inseparable in their everyday life — an indication of a weakness in the husband, according to Okonkwo and Obierika. The village must first wait and bury the woman before they can formally report the death of the man who was at one time a terrific warrior.

Notwithstanding, the two men appear to concur that masculinity does not enable a man and his wife to be inseparable and outwardly showing affection for each other. (A village woman who has died before her husband's death can be publicly announced, but a wife's death soon after her husbands may be a sign that she is guilty of killing him.) The couple is known to be relatively inseparable in their everyday life — an indication of a weakness in the husband, according to Okonkwo and Obierika. The village must first wait and bury the woman before they can formally report the death of the man who was at one time a terrific warrior.

A case of the economic traditions of the town is the marriage transactions for Obierika's daughter. The opening ceremonies — the outfit and adornments of the bride, the utilization of the sticks, and the drinking of the palm-wine — represent the multifaceted nature of Umuofian custom. These African traditions are reminiscent of marriage traditions in different societies in which the lady pays an endowment or pay the cost of the wedding (although in Igbo custom, the groom himself pays the bride-price).  Such traditions discredit the held thoughts about the crudeness of the African culture.

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