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Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart


by Chinua Achebe

Ekwefi Timeline and Summary

  • During Peace Week, Okonkwo commits a crime against the earth by beating Ekwefi for coming home too late to make his dinner on time.
  • While preparing for the New Year Yam Festival, Okonkwo accuses Ekwefi of killing a banana tree. When she speaks up for herself to point out the tree isn’t dead, Okonkwo goes into a rage, beating her and threatening to shoot her dead.
  • Ekwefi excitedly awaits the wrestling matches which are a part of the new year celebration. The narrator lets us know that, smitten by Okonkwo’s wrestling prowess many years ago, Ekwefi was compelled to run away from home to elope with Okonkwo.
  • Ekwefi wakes Okonkwo up by pounding on his door in the morning. She tells him that Ezinma is deathly ill. Ekwefi cares for Ezinma as Okonkwo gathers medicinal herbs.
  • As she tends her sick daughter, the narrator tells us that Ekwefi has bad luck with pregnancies. Although she has borne ten children, only one of them – Ezinma – has survived, Ezinma. She bears what the Igbo people call ogbanje or changeling children.
  • Ekwefi is close friends with Chielo, the priestess of Agbala. Yet, when Chielo is possessed and takes away Ezinma, Ekwefi follows them, determined to make sure that Ezinma remains unhurt or die trying.
  • Ekwefi often spends nights exchanging folk stories with her daughter.
  • When Okonkwo is about to leave Mbanta, Ekwefi is put in charge of preparing cassava for the final feast.