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Things Fall Apart Chapter 14 Summary

Instructor: J.R. Hudspeth

Jackie has taught college English and Critical Thinking and has a Master's degree in English Rhetoric and Composition

In chapter fourteen of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo and his family settle in a new land and must build their home once again. Read on for a short summary of what happens to Okonkwo and his family in this chapter!

Re-building a Home

Okonkwo and his family have fled from their home in Umuofia because Okonkwo committed an accidental murder when shooting his gun into the air. The family has come to Mbanta, the home of Okonkwo's mother. As he arrives, Okonkwo thinks about when he came here as a child to bury his mother.

Uchendu, the uncle of Okonkwo, greets him and helps him to get settled. Okonkwo is given some land to build a home for his family and where he can also plant yams for the year's harvest. Uchendu's sons help Okonkwo by offering him three hundred yams to plant.

The rainy season soon comes. When the storm is so powerful that hail falls from the sky, the younger members of the village run outside to eat them. Okonkwo is older and has less energy; he feels troubled at having to start over. Furthermore, he was pursuing one of the highest titles of the clan, and that is now in danger since he has been exiled from his home. Okonkwo becomes depressed and blames his chi, or personal spiritual being, for holding him back.

One Final Marriage Ceremony: The Isa-Ifi

Amikwu, the son of Uchendu, is marrying a new wife, but there is one more ceremony to perform. This ceremony, the isa-ifi, a ceremony that happens after the bride-to-be has spent time away from her future husband. She must attend the ceremony and swear that she has not been with any other men. The bride-to-be must swear this to her husband's family at the umuada. The umuada is a special gathering in which Uchendu's daughters come back home to question the bride-to-be about if she has stayed faithful to their brother, Amikwu. At the end of the ceremony, Uchendu sacrifices a hen, and the marriage is complete.

There Is No One for Whom Things Are Well

Uchendu decides to speak to Okonkwo about his depression. After the isa-ifi, Uchendu calls Okonkwo together with his sons and daughters and speaks to them all. Uchendu says that even though Okonkwo is troubled over being forced into exile, he should remember the power that a mother and her land has. He reminds Okonkwo that their people say nneka, or Mother is supreme, and asks Okonkwo if he knows why they have this saying.

When Okonkwo replies that he does not know why people say this about mothers, Uchendu asks him another question about why women are taken back to their homelands to be buried when they pass away. Okonkwo still does not know the answer nor do Uchendu's children.

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