Study Guide

Things Fall Apart Chapter Twenty-Four

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Chapter Twenty-Four

  • Upon their release, Okonkwo and the other five men go silently home.
  • At home, Ezinma cooks Okonkwo a meal, and Okonkwo is met by his male relations and Obierika. The men are mostly silent, but can see by the marks on his back that Okonkwo has been whipped while in jail.
  • That night, the village crier beats his gong to signal that there will be a village meeting in the morning.
  • The question of war is in the air.
  • Before going to bed, Okonkwo takes out his war dress. He vows vengeance for the shameful way he was treated by the white men and their court. Even if Umuofia decides not to go to war, he vows to avenge himself.
  • Okonkwo thinks nostalgically of the past, when the men of Umuofia were fierce and dreaded warriors.
  • Okonkwo despises Egonwanne, a man whose silver tongue usually convinces the Umuofia not to go to war against the white man. Okonkwo considers him a coward.
  • The next morning, the entire village congregates to hear the war decision. The marketplace is crammed with people.
  • Okonkwo arrives with Obierika and spots Egonwanne.
  • When Obierika asks if Okonkwo is afraid of Egonwanne persuading the village not to fight, Okonkwo goes into super macho mode. Okonkwo assures Obierika that he’s completely indifferent about the despicable Egonwanne, and that he himself will fight even if the clan chooses not to.
  • Okika, one of the six humiliated leaders, speaks to the crowd. He points out that times are dire – their gods are weeping and their clan is divided, joining up with strangers and forsaking their ancestors. Okika urges the Umuofia to go to war, even though it will mean fighting against their brothers who have joined the white men.
  • But just then, five kotma arrive. (Uh-oh).
  • Okonkwo confronts the kotma, trembling with rage.
  • The fearless head messenger tells him that the white man has ordered their meeting to stop.
  • This enrages Okonkwo and, in a flash, he draws his machete and decapitates the man.
  • The crowd behind him is in tumult, but makes no move to catch the other four kotma.
  • Okonkwo now knows that the Umuofia will not go to war because they let the other kotma escape.
  • He cleans off his machete and walks away.

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