The quote, “I pray she stays” is said by Ekwefi, Okonkwo ’s wife, about her daughter Enzima. The quote comes from the conversation that Ekwefi has with Chielo the priestess of Agbala, and the implication is that Ekwefi desires her daughter to live. Ekwefi struggles to have children, something...
The quote, “I pray she stays” is said by Ekwefi, Okonkwo’s wife, about her daughter Enzima. The quote comes from the conversation that Ekwefi has with Chielo the priestess of Agbala, and the implication is that Ekwefi desires her daughter to live. Ekwefi struggles to have children, something she blames on Okonkwo’s impotence earlier in chapter five.
When Okonkwo declares that he will go hunting, after having just beaten Ekwefi, she says, “something about guns that never shot” under her breath. She means that Okonkowo is impotent, and is blaming the poor health of her children on him.
In the conversation, Ekwefi says that her daughter is ten now and that she is well. That leads her to be hopeful that she will continue to live and reach adulthood. It reveals a few things about the Igbo people. The first is that despite the harsh conditions they live in, they value life—especially the life of the children they bring forth. Ekwefi doesn’t have a son, which would be considered better in their culture, but she loves her daughter immensely.
Another thing it teaches us about the culture is that the Igbo have a complex system of beliefs. They don’t have any scientific understanding of things like infertility or the causes of death, but they do still think about what might cause someone to die, and when someone might be healthy enough to live.
The middle chapters are used by Achebe to show us that Igbo culture wasn’t the superstitious savage culture that the Europeans made it out to be during colonization. It is rich and complex, with different stories and belief systems that are varied by tribe and location. The hopes and beliefs of Ekwefi are endearing because even in a super-patriarchal order she loves her daughter dearly and worries about her life.