How does Achebe foreshadow the ultimate fate of Ikemefuna?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Chapter 1, Achebe foreshadows Ikemefuna’s death by referring to him as a “doomed lad” who is “ill-fated.” In Chapter 2, Okonkwo returns home from Mbaino with Ikemefuna. Achebe again foreshadows his ultimate fate by mentioning that Ikemefuna’s “sad story” is still told to this day in Umuofia. Shortly after, Achebe writes that Ikemefuna only lived with Okonkwo for three years. The reader can infer that something tragic will happen to Ikemefuna in at least three years. As was mentioned in the previous post, many scholars believe that Okonkwo breaking the Week of Peace foreshadows Ikemefuna’s death. In Chapter 7, Ezeudu informs Okonkwo that Umuofia has decided to kill Ikemefuna but Okonkwo must not have a hand in his death. The next day, Achebe writes that “a deathly silence descended Okonkwo’s compound” before the men begin their journey with Ikemefuna. The silence gives an ominous mood to the atmosphere. After the men travel a distance from the village, Okonkwo ends up killing Ikemefuna because he does not want to be viewed as weak.

bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even though Ikemefuna is beginning to feel comfortable living with Okonkwo, he is a sacrificial offering from the time he's given to Okonkwo. Achebe refers to Ikemefuna as a "doomed, ill-fated lad" since he has been given to Umuofia to atone for murder.

Some critics have also seen the event when Okonkwo breaks the peace during the Week of Peace as foreshadowing Ikemefuna's death. Okonkwo beats his youngest wife, and the priest has Okonkwo sacrifice a goat and a hen as part of his repentance. His willingness to do this might foreshadow Okonkwo's willingness to kill Ikemefuna.

bela302 | Student

page 15 "He did not know who the girl was and he NEVER saw her again."

also the first sentence of chapter 7.

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Things Fall Apart

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