Chapters 1 through 3 basically narrate the organization and peace that exists between 9 connected villages. One night, it is discovered that someone from one village murdered the wife of a man from a different village. Okonkwo is sent to the village to deliver the punishment. The village at fault must hand over a virgin and young man. If they do not, the villages will go to war. The village agrees and hands over a young girl and young boy. Okonkwo's village doesn't know what to do with the boy, so they give him to Okonkwo for safekeeping. He then tells his wife to take care of it.
Chapter 3 is specifically about how Okonkwo built his wealth and reputation as a good provider and farmer. Unfortunately, drought has severely damaged his crops for the year and left Okonkwo quite angry and bitter.
In chapter 4 Okonkwo beats his wife for leaving the house before cooking dinner. This is a violation and breaking the peace of the sacred week. It is known as nso-ani. Chapter 5 is basically about a repeat offense. He beats his other wife and shoots a gun at her. He misses, but the intent was still there.