Things Fall Apart
How we cite our quotes:
“Where are her [Ojiugo’s] children? Did she take them?” he asked with unusual coolness and restraint.
“They are here,” answered his first wife, Nwoye’s mother. Okonkwo bent down and looked into her hut. Ojiugo’s children were eating with the children of his first wife. (4.13-14)
Wives often look out for each other, banding together against their husband to minimize their suffering. Here, Nwoye’s mother takes care of Ojiugo’s children for her while she is out and even lies to Okonkwo to prevent too severe a punishment.
Ikemefuna had begun to feel like a member of Okonkwo’s family. He still thought about his mother and his three-year-old sister, and he had moments of sadness and depression. But he and Nwoye had become so deeply attached to each other that such moments became less frequent and less poignant. (4.38)
Ikemefuna has lived long enough with Okonkwo’s family to start feeling like a part of it, especially since he has developed such a close relationship with Nwoye. To Ikemefuna, mutual affection is the basis of a family, not shared blood.
The Feast of the New Yam was approaching and Umuofia was in a festival mood. It was an occasion for giving thanks to Ani, the earth goddess and the source of all fertility. Ani played a greater part in the life of the people than any other deity. She was the ultimate judge of morality and conduct. And what was more, she was in close communion with the departed father of the clan whose bodies had been committed to the earth.
The Feast of the New Yam was held every year before the harvest began, to honor the earth goddess and the ancestral spirits of the clan…So much was cooked that, no matter how heavily the family ate or how many friends and relatives they invited from neighboring villages, there was always a large quantity of food left over at the end of the day. (5.1-2)
This feast is designed to celebrate the family. Ancestors are honored in the name of Ani, the earth goddess, who keeps their bodies in her hold. People also honor their current family by inviting all their relations to splurge at their feast.