Things Fall Apart Family Tree

Instructor: Laura Foist

Laura has a Masters of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition and has taught college Science.

In this lesson, we will learn about the family tree in Things Fall Apart. We will learn about Okonkwo's relationship with several members of his family including his sons, Nwoye and Ikemefuna, and his daughter, Ezinma.

Family Tree

In this family tree, red lines represent spouses while black lines represent children:


Okonkwo had three wives. His first wife is never named, but simply referred to as 'first wife' or 'Nwoye's mother'. As is apparent by her names, the first wife was there to bear children for her husband. They have three children, two sons and a daughter.

The second and third wives are there to help the first wife with the family duties. The second wife is Ekwefi. She and Okonkwo have ten children but only one lives past infanthood, a daughter named Ezinma. Ezinma and Ekwefi have a relationship that resembles sisters more than mother-daughter. Ojiugo is the third wife; she and Okonkwo have a daughter named Nkechi.

Okonkwo has another adopted son, Ikemefuna. Okonokwo's father is Unoka.

Important Relationships

Okonkwo is continually afraid of appearing weak like his father Unoka. In order to prevent this perception, he ends up harming his family and his family relationships.

Okonkwo always sees his eldest son Nwoye as weak and lacking masculinity. In an effort to toughen him up, Okwonkwo frequently beats Nwoye. On the other hand, his adopted son Ikemefuna is exactly the kind of man that Okonkwo wishes to see. He still prevents himself from showing affection, though, because he thinks it will make him appear weak. When Ikemefuna murders someone and is sentenced to death, Okonkwo ensures the death sentence is carried out in order to once again appear strong.

Growing up, Ikemefuna helps his adopted brother Nwoye grow into manhood in order to please their father. Okonkwo notices and appreciates the changes in Nwoye but still refuses to show affection, continuing to fear that Nwoye is truly weak at heart. When Nwoye becomes a Christian it proves his weakness to Okonkwo who subsequently disowns him.

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