Things Fall Apart
How we cite our quotes:
Ekwefi ladled her husband’s share of the pottage into a bowl and covered it. Ezinma took it to him in his obi.
Okonkwo was sitting on a goatskin already eating his first wife’s meal. Obiageli, who had brought it from her mother’s hut, sat on the floor waiting for him to finish…
He uncovered his second wife’s dish and began to eat from it. Obiageli took the first dish and returned to her mother’s hut. And then Nkechi came in, bringing the third dish. Nkechi was the daughter of Okonkwo’s third wife. (5.54-65)
In this family ritual, the husband eats one dish from each of his wives, in the order that he married them. The daughters of each wife bring in the dish to their father in the correct order. Domestic life is very organized in Igbo society.
[Chielo]: “And how is my daughter, Ezinma?” (6.11)
Chielo is so fond of Ezinma that she calls her “my daughter” even though she has no blood relation to her. Calling Ezinma by a name denoting a family relationship is a way of showing deep affection and love.
[Ezedu]: “That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death.” (7.15)
It is considered a crime to kill a member of your own family. Even though Okonkwo isn’t Ikemefuna’s father by blood, the boy thinks of Okonkwo as his father, so it might as well be the case as far as Ezedu is concerned.