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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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What happens to Ikemefuna on the way back to his home in Chapter 7 of Things Fall Apart?

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On the way back to his home, Ikemefuna is killed.

Ikemefuna has lived in Okonkwo's household for the past three years, ever since he was given to the tribe as a peace offering. He has grown used to life with the Ibo, and does not even remember his old situation with his original people very well. Then, inexplicably, the Oracle of the Hills decrees that the boy must die. Okonkwo, who has been warned to have nothing to do with the killing, tells Ikemefuna that he is going to be returned to his people, and when the men of Umuofia take the boy away through the dense forest, Okonkwo accompanies them. Ikemefuna carries a pot on his head, and is a little uneasy at first, but is comforted by the fact that Okonkwo, whom he considers to be his father, is with him. Suddenly, one of the men strikes Ikemefuna with a machete; mortally wounded, the boy runs to Okonkwo, who has retreated to the back of the group. Terrified of being perceived as weak, Okonkwo administers the death blow upon his adopted son (Chapter 7).

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