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Things Fall Apart Chapter Summary

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Essay title: Things Fall Apart Chapter Summary

Chapter 20


· Okonkwo returns to his clan in Umuofia.

· Okonkwo faces the changes in the clan due to the white missionaries.



Umuofia is a strong and powerful clan. It is for this reason that Okonkwo wants to regain his authority within the clan. He wants to “show his wealth”. This can be achieved by having one of the wealthiest suitor for one of his daughters. Umuofia used to be powerful as a clan. These men were the strongest and most powerful throughout the villages. “Their fathers had never dared to stand before our ancestors”. The white men “are very clever” and are portrayed as superior to the Ibo men. This power and authority makes the Ibo men start to believe in their sayings. This therefore leads to their downfall. “ Our clan no longer acts like one” Court messengers contribute to their tragedy since they use power on the Ibo prisoners by beating them up. This increases the authority of the white men over the Ibo ones. Being a man is shown as more powerful than a female. For example, Okonkwo wishes Enzinma would be a boy since she can understand him so well. Therefore, a woman is seen as inferior to a boy. Enzinma is portrayed as an achievement and she would increase the power of the family in the clan if she would be a boy.


Throughout chapter 20, the Ibo cultured is described to us. Their many beliefs are well described. For example, the Ibo population believes in “nine masked spirits”, “chi” and in having many wives. They believe in belonging to the land. “wrath of the Earth”. Men are ranked with titles of importance. “He had the highest title in the clan”. This shows how he was ranked as the wiser, stronger and better men of Umuofia.


Many of the men of Umuofia have resigned their morals and beliefs to Christianity. For example, the wealthiest man of the clan resigned his titles. “Like a madman had cut the anklet of his titles and cast it away to join the Christians.” Most of the Ibo men resigned their culture to obey the white missionaries. For example, they had always believed in giving up twins. They obeyed the white men and went to prison when they ‘committed’ that act. The Ibo men, who used to help one another and fight for each other, are now denying their old culture. “ Our own brothers… say our religion is bad”.


During the seven years that Okonkwo was in exile, Umuofia had changed enormously as a clan. New churches were built and a government was in place. This new religion changed many men’s thoughts and beliefs. For example, they lost the power to fight back at something.



Okonkwo is portrayed as a determined, strong man in this chapter. He is passionate about authority and having power. He has already planned to go back to Umuofia to gain power and respect from all villagers. “ Okonkwo saw clearly the high esteem in which he would be held, and saw himself taking the highest title in the land”. Okonkwo is well described as the one to bring a little hope to Umuofia since he has kept his dignity, beliefs and culture. He is willing to fight for what he believes in. “We must fight these men and drive them from the land”.


Enzinma is portrayed as a beautiful woman. She received the name Crystals of Beauty. Due to her looks she portrayed Okonkwo’s family as a stronger and wealthier one. This young lady is also described as moody. “These moods descended on her suddenly and for no apparent reason”. She shares a strong relationship with her father. She is the only one who can

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