Study Guide

Okpo in The Joys of Motherhood

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After Nnaife returns from his stint in the military, he returns home to Ibuza to assert his right of inheritance with his deceased brother's wives. But his brother's senior wife refuses to come back to Lagos with him, so he pays the bride price for a sixteen-year-old girl instead, Okpo.

Okpo is young, but she is traditional, and she looks up to Nnu Ego as the senior wife. They are close, and Nnu Ego is glad that Nnaife will have a woman to look after him in his old age.

Okpo has one critically important moment in the novel, when she reminds Nnu Ego that she had been making clothes for her stillborn daughter. Nnu Ego had been chastising herself, internally, believing that she hadn't wanted the daughter and must have killed her with her thoughts. When Okpo reminds Nnu Ego that she had been preparing for this child's birth, Nnu Ego realizes that she must have anticipated and wanted the child after all. Okpo thus restores Nnu Ego's faith in herself.

Nnu Ego is also grateful for the relationship that Okpo has with her children, and in particular with Adim. She can see that Okpo is giving her son the example he needs to help look after their father and his wives in their old age.

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