What does the incident involing the priestess of Agabala reflect about the values of culture in chapter 11?

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cmcqueeney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This incident reveals that this Nigerian culture places great value on their gods and religion, but a greater value on their families.  When the priestess comes to take Ezinma, both Okonkwo and Ekwefi try to stop her by reasoning with her, but the priestess threatens them with actions from Agbala, the god, so they let her take Ezinma.  Ekwefi can't stand to see her daughter go, however, and she follows the priestess for a long distance in secret.  When the priestess arrives at the shrine, Ekwefi waits outside but swears to herself that she will go in to rescue Ezinma if she hears her cry.  This scene reveals the power of a mother's love.  The reader sees a new side of Okonkwo also, however, when he shows up at the shrine also.  Later we discover that he made four trips to the shrine before he finds the mother waiting there, and the novel says that by that time he had become worried.  Both Okonkwo and Ekwefi allow the priestess to take their daughter, showing they will submit to the god's wishes, but they are not trusting enough to completely let go of her, displaying that strength of family ties crosses cultural boundaries.

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Things Fall Apart

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