Things Fall Apart Chapter 7 Summary

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  • 0:02 Family & Adulthood
  • 1:24 Locusts & Sacrifice
  • 3:21 Customs & Disillusionment
  • 3:49 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

The seventh chapter of Chinua Achebe's classic novel 'Things Fall Apart' shares the fate of Ikemefuna and examines the personalities and motivations of Okonkwo and Nwoye. Watch this video for a short summary of the chapter!

Family & Adulthood

In Chapter 7 of Things Fall Apart, the story jumps ahead three years. During this time, Ikemefuna has continued to live in Okonkwo's household. At this point, Ikemefuna is considered family. Nwoye, Okonkwo's son, sees Ikemefuna as a bigger brother and begins to act in a more stereotypically masculine manner, which pleases Okonkwo greatly. Okonkwo likes to see Nwoye grumbling about women and finding interest in war stories because he wants Nwoye to grow up as a man of action who has complete control of his household. Okonkwo also sees Ikemefuna as the reason for the changes in Nwoye.

Okonkwo continues to encourage Nwoye to become more adult. He invites Ikemefuna and Nwoye to his hut at night, tells them stories of violence, and shares his evening meal with them. Nwoye has not quite changed completely, however. He prefers the origin stories that his mother tells about how the earth came to be, such as stories about how the heavy rains of the yam season came to be. However, Nwoye also realizes that Okonkwo expects him to act in a more adult manner and that when he does so, Okonkwo doesn't beat him so often, so he pretends to enjoy Okonkwo's stories of bloodshed even though they don't really fit his interests.

Locusts & Sacrifice

One day, as Ikemefuna and Nwoye help Okonkwo to re-roof his hut, a swarm of locusts descends on the village. This excites everyone, as locusts only come around once or twice in a lifetime. Everyone waits until dark to collect them and then roast them for eating. As Okonkwo eats some locusts later that night, a village elder named Ezeudu comes to Okonkwo and tells him that the village oracle has declared that Ikemefuna must be put to death. He also warns Okonkwo that he shouldn't be the man to kill Ikemefuna since Ikemefuna sees him as his father.

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