Do you think Ezinma really buried the iyi-uwa under the orange tree—or was it just a coincidence that the medicine man found a stone wrapped in the rag in the place where Ezinma told him to dig? How else might such a stone have gotten there?

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One of the wonderful aspects of Things Fall Apart is that when it comes to depicting the power of the traditional Igbo gods and customs, Chinua Achebe leaves the effects of spells, curses, and medicine men ambiguous. There are likely “rational” explanations for most of the occurrences that the Igbo attribute to gods or magic; however, Achebe renders these same scenes ambiguous enough that native interpretations seem validated by the author. Ezinma finding her iyi-uwa is one such occurrence. The way Achebe frames the scene, it appears that Ezinma is in fact an ogbanje and she correctly identifies her iyi-uwa. However, I argue that the evidence indicates that Ezinma buried a fake iyi-uwa herself. Ezinma is characterized as a bit mischievous, and she enjoys the attention that she receives when she is looking for her iyi-uwa:

“'But you said it was where they bury children?' asked the medicine man.

'No,' said Ezinma, whose feeling of importance was manifest in her sprightly walk. She sometimes broke into a run and stopped again suddenly. The crowd followed her silently” (81).

Additionally, after having the crowd follow her around for some time, she finally leads the medicine man Okagbue and the crowd to an orange tree next to her father’s obi:

“Ezinma led the way back to the road, looked left and right and turned right. And so they arrived home again.

'Where did you bury your iyi-uwa?' asked Okagbue when Ezinma finally stopped outside her father's obi (82).

Thus, with these two bits of evidence, I contend that it is likely that Ezinma buried a false iyi-uwa and made a game of finding it. This makes more sense to me than the hypothesis that Ezinma is an ogbanje and she magically finds her iyi-uwa.  

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