In Things Fall Apart, what does it mean when Okonkwo says that Ezinma has "the right spirit"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The answer to this question can be found in Chapter Nine, when the background of Ekwefi and Ezinma is told to us, and in particular the belief of the tribe that Ekwefi kept on having spirit children, known as ogbanje, who are born only to die so that they can re-enter their mother's wombs once more and keep the cycle going. This chapter describes what the medicine-man does to prevent this from occurring again, and the medicine-man, once he has mutilated the body of the last ogbanje, declares that Ezinma is cured and will stay and not die. Therefore, taken in this context, Okonkwo's comment that Ezinma has "the right spirit," we can see that he is refering to her identity as a former spirit child who now will not leave and die like the other children Ekwefi had before.

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