Study Guide

The Joys of Motherhood Chapter 13

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Chapter 13

A Good Daughter

  • They take the train partway to Ibuza. They're greeted enthusiastically when they arrive, and Nnu Ego bathes the twins and Adim in the river.
  • Nnaife's people come and carry them the rest of the way to Ibuza. A man from Agbadi's household greets them, and lets Nnu Ego know that her father has been unable to speak for five days. He is waiting for her arrival, so he can die.
  • They go first to the Owulum household, where Adankwo, the first wife (and now inherited by Nnaife), tells Nnu Ego that her father has already died – his spirit is just waiting to say goodbye.
  • Nnu Ego hurries to her father's house. But Agbadi speaks as soon as she enters his hut, telling Ona to stop wringing her hands because their daughter has arrived.
  • Agbadi is full of pride, seeing how Nnu Ego has children and is pregnant. He calls her a "full woman, full of children" (13.18). He keeps talking to Ona, and people are afraid, knowing he's hallucinating and on the edge of death.
  • Nnu Ego sleeps near him. Just before he dies, he speaks to Nnu Ego again, saying that he will come into her house again but will bring her mother. Then he speaks to his good friend Idayi, saying he knows Idayi is waiting for him, but he wanted to say goodbye to Ona's daughter.
  • He dies, holding Nnu Ego's hand.
  • Nnu Ego weeps, letting the world know that her father had died. Everyone wakes and rushes in. The wake goes on for days.
  • Finally, Obi Agbadi is buried, sitting upright on his stool.
  • After the burial, Nnu Ego returns to Nnaife's family. Weeks later, when she gives birth to a son, he is born at the same time as her father died. She wants to name her son after her father, but doesn't know how to tell Nnaife's family that.
  • But Adankwo the senior Owulum wife recognizes Agbadi in the sleeping baby, and cries out that Agbadi is back. Adankwo and the oldest of Nnu Ego's half-brothers suggest the name "Nnamdio," meaning, "This is my father."
  • Nnu Ego is surrounded by relatives for her father's second burial. The medicine man who presides over the ceremony, says that he can see her father boasting to the people in the land of the dead that he has a good daughter. Somebody tells Nnu Ego that she doesn't seem to miss her husband much, she's so happy.
  • But Nnu Ego does miss Nnaife. She wonders how he is, and how Adaku is, who had given birth to another daughter.
  • Nnu Ego knew the people would soon say that she was a good daughter – but she must prove herself a good wife as well.

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