STUDY GUIDE :OKONKWO RETURNSTO UMUOFIA ANDCOLONIZATION ISINEVITABLECHAPTERS 20-25TEACHER NAME
“HOW DO YOU THINK WECAN FIGHT WHEN OUROWN BROTHERS HAVETURNED AGAINST US?”
From the beginning of his exile, Okonkwo has planned how torebuild his compound.He wants it to be larger, to take two more wives and get titles forhis sons. He thinks less of Nwoye’s disgraceful departure, butstill regrets that Ezinma is a girl.Okonkwo gets his daughters to postpone marrying so that hemay attract interest when he returns to Umuofia.However, Umuofia is very different. The church has grown. Thewhite men subject the villagers to their judicial system and rulesof government.Okonkwo cannot believe that his clan has not driven out theharsh, arrogant, white men and their church.Obierika explains that it is too late; the CHAPTERchurch has weakened the ties of kinship.Okonkwo observes that the white man isshrewd; he came in peace, appeared to 20have benevolent interests so the Africanswould permit him to stay.
Umuofia is divided over the white men’s influence in the community.The benefit: trading posts. Money is flowing into the village.Mr. Brown, the white missionary, restrains Christians from harassingthe clan. Akunna, one of the clan’s leaders, explains that the clan alsohas just one god, Chukwu, who created the world and the other gods.Cultural Exchange: Mr. Brown - there are no other gods; a carving isnot a god, but a piece of wood. Akunna – agrees it is a piece of wood,but wood created by Chukwu. Neither will convert, but gain a greaterunderstanding of the other’s faith.Mr. Brown builds a hospital, a school. Threat: if children don’t go toschool, strangers who can read and write will rule over them.Mr. Brown tells Okonkwo that Nwoye is in a training college forteachers. Soon after, his health declines. He leaves Umuofia.Daughters attract many suitors, but clanhas little interest in his return. Ozoinitiation ceremony occurs only once CHAPTERevery 3 years. 21Okonkwo is baffled and upset by changesin his once warlike people.
Reverend James Smith replaces Mr. Brown. Strict, intolerant,demands obedience to the letter of the Bible. Disapproves ofMr. Brown’s former policies.Zealous converts are relieved to be free of restraints. Enochunmasks an egwugwu during the annual ceremony to honor theearth deity (equivalent to killing an ancestral spirit). The nextday, the egwugwu burn Enoch’s compound to the ground.They gather in front of the church to confront Reverend Smith.They tell the Christians that they wish to destroy the church tocleanse their village of Enoch’s horrible sin.Smith stands his ground, forbidding them to touch the church.His interpreter alters statements for fear they are too harsh, willprovoke great anger. (Says that Smith demands that they leave).They ignore Smith’s orders and burn the church. CHAPTER 22
Okonkwo is almost happy because of taking action, even thoughthe clan did not agree to kill the Christians or drive them away.Villagers are on guard, arm themselves for next two days.District Commissioner returns from his tour, requests a meetingwith the leaders of Umuofia. They go, taking only machetes(guns would be “unseemly”).Commissioner is condescending, says they should discuss thechurch’s burning “as friends.” As soon as machetes are on thefloor, soldiers handcuff them and throw them in jail.They suffer insults and physical abuse. Bail is set at 200 bags ofcowries. Court messengers ask for 250 to prevent leaders fromhanging – to make a profit. CHAPTERAn emergency village meeting. Ezinmareturns home from 28-day visit to futurein-lawsThey decide to collect the cowriesnecessary to pay the fine. 23
Umuofia leaders return to the village upset. Entire village overcomewith tense and unnatural silence.Ezinma takes Okonkwo some food. She and Obierika notice whipmarks on his back.Village crier announces another meeting. Following morning, clan isfilled with sense of foreboding. Okonkwo has slept very little out ofexcitement and anticipation. Meeting is packed with people from 9villages.Okonkwo believes that the nature of man has changed. He hasdecided on a course of action, no matter what others think. Takes outwar dress. Assesses raffia skirt, feather headgear, shield. Remembersformer glories.First speaker: laments the damage that white man and his churchhave done to the clan, the desecration of the gods / ancestral spirits.They may have to spill clansmen’s blood if they battle the white man. CHAPTER5 court messengers approach, ordering themeeting to end. Okonkwo kills the leader withhis machete. Villagers allow messengers toescape, end the meeting. 24
District Commissioner arrives at Okonkwo’s compound. A smallgroup of men sit outside, who tell him that Okonkwo is not at home.Commissioner asks again, and Obierika repeats his initial answer.Commissioner gets angry, threatens to imprison them. Obierikaagrees to lead him to Okonkwo in return for assistance. Notunderstanding this agreement, Commissioner follows Obierika and agroup of clansmen to a small bush behind Okonkwo’s compound.There, Okonkwo’s body dangles from a tree.Understanding that Umuofia would not go to war and disappointedwith his clan, he has hanged himself.Obierika explains that suicide is a grave sin. Commissioner asks whythey cannot take down the body, and they explain that it is now evil.Only strangers may touch it; only strangers may bury it.Angrily, Obierika blames him for Okonkwo’s death, praises hisfriend’s greatness. Commissioner leaves, but orders his messengersto do the work.As he departs, he congratulates himself CHAPTER 25for increasing his knowledge of Africancustoms.
“HE HAD ALREADYCHOSEN THE TITLE OFTHE BOOK . . . THEPACIFICATION OF THEPRIMITIVE TRIBES OFTHE LOWER NIGER.” The commissioner imagines that Okonkwo and his suicide will make an interesting paragraph in the book that he is writing.