Things Fall Apart Chapter 15 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 fifteen of Chinua Achebe's ''Things Fall Apart,'' Obierika visits Okonkwo and tells him of the destruction of a town and the arrival of white men from a faraway land. Read on for a short summary of the chapter.

Summary of Chapter Fifteen

A Visit from an Old Friend

Okonkwo and his family are living in Mbaino, now a year-and-a-half into their exile from Umuofia. Okonkwo's friend Obierika and a couple of young men come to visit Okonkwo one day. The men bring with them two big bags of cowries, the money that the village uses.

Okonkwo introduces his uncle Uchendu to Obierika. They share a kola nut and some palm wine and discuss the news of the day. Obierika tells them of the destruction of a village named Abame. Three months before Obierika's visit, a few survivors came into Umuofia to tell what had happened.

The Destruction of Abame

A white man came to the village of Abame during their yam-planting season. He rode a bicycle, which the people of the village believed was an iron horse. The elders of the community, confused about the appearance of the man, consulted with their oracle and were told that the white man was the first of many other white men to come to their land and that they must kill the white man before he had the chance to break their clan. The people of the village carried out their oracle's orders and killed the white man, tying his bicycle to a tree to keep it from running away.

A modern-day outdoor market. The village of Abame has an outdoor market of their own, and it is ambushed by a group of men that is led by three white visitors.

The planting season and rainy season both passed, and soon enough, it was time for the people of Abame to harvest their yams. At this time, three more white men visited the village along with a few black men and saw the bicycle tied to the tree. The visitors figured out what happened and left. They waited for Abame to have a market day, which is something like a modern-day farmer's market where people set up booths to sell their goods for shoppers who walk from booth to booth to buy things. These visitors hid themselves near the market, waited for it to become full, and then came out of hiding and started shooting. The massacre killed nearly everyone in the village. Obierika reported that the land where Abame once stood was now abandoned and even the nearby lake had turned to the color of blood.

Uchendu claims that it was foolish for the men of Abame to kill the first white man since they knew nothing about him; Okonkwo agrees that the men of Abame were fools, but he says that their mistake was not in killing the initial white man; instead, Okonkwo thinks that they should have walked around armed with their own guns and machetes after being warned of danger by their oracle.

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