Things Fall Apart Chapter 2 Summary

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  • 0:03 The Town Crier
  • 0:46 The Men Gather
  • 1:51 Okonkwo Assumes Responsibility
  • 2:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
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 2 of ''Things Fall Apart,'' we learn about Okonkwo, the main character, and how he was influenced by his own father. We also learn about a new development in the town of Umofia.

The Town Crier

Chapter 2 begins late one night. Okonkwo is preparing for bed when the town crier, a messenger who sends important news to the village, sounds a gong and announces that all the men of Umuofia must gather tomorrow in the marketplace.

The night is extremely dark, and the people of the villages hold a fear of the dark as a place for evil spirits and attacks from dangerous predators, so Okonkwo realizes that for the crier to go out into the darkness to send a message, something important must be happening. Okonkwo assumes that a war will be declared, and he compares himself favorably to his father Unoka, thinking that he is a man of action and not afraid of violence or bloodshed.

The Men Gather

In the morning, the men of the village come to the marketplace and hear from the best speaker in the village that someone from a neighboring village, Mbaino, killed a woman from Umuofia at the market in Mbaino. The men are enraged by this news and speak about what to do in response. In the end, they decide to follow the typical custom for an incident of this kind. They send a messenger to Mbaino to give that village a choice: Either they send Umuofia a young man and a young woman who is a virgin as compensation for the death of the Umuofian woman, or Umuofia will declare war on Mbaino.

Umuofia is the most powerful village in the area, known for having fierce fighters and strong practitioners of magic. The people of Umuofia in particular believe that they have a strong war magic that's derived from the shrine of an old woman in the center of town. They believe that the war would be a war of justice and thus theirs to win. The people of Mbaino desire to avert war with Umuofia for these reasons and agree to send over a young man and a young virgin female instead.

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