In an effort not to appear weak and lazy like his father, Okwonko does several things that eventually lead to his banishment from his village. Okwonko adopts Ikemefuna, a young boy given to Okwonko's village, and Ikemefuna lives with Okwonko's family for three years. Okwonko cares about Ikemefuna and considers him a good role model for Okwonko's son who seems to have the characteristics of Okwonko's father. The Oracle of the Hills and Caves requires that Ikemefuna be sacrificed, and Okwonko is warned by the eldest man in the village not to take part in the killing of the boy. Okwonko, however, doesn't want to appear weak, so he joins in the killing of Ikemefuna anyway. His son is angry with Okwonko and their relationship is never the same.
The next two events leading to Okwonko's exile is when he beats his youngest wife during the Week of Peace and fires a gun at another wife during the Yam Festival. These actions show Okwonko's lack of respect for the traditions of his community by allowing his anger to get out of control in order to keep his family under his thumb.
The last event occurs during the funeral of the eldest man in the village, Ezeudu. Okwonko's gun accidentally goes off, killing Ezeudu's son. Ani, the Earth Goddess, is so angry at Okwonko's constant defiance of the village's rules and laws that she sends him to live with his mother for seven years. The order of the village relies on adherence to the traditional customs and beliefs, and when Okwonko defies to break these traditions, he must be punished.