Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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In Things Fall Apart, why did Okonkwo beat his youngest wife Ojiugo and shoot at Ekwefi?

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In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo's youngest wife Ojiugo decides to have her hair braided during the Week of Peace. She decides to have her hair braided instead of cooking dinner. Okonkwo is furious with Oijugo. He beats her during the Week of Peace because she neglected to cook dinner. He is supposed to observe the Week of Peace with no violent behavior. Okonkwo shamefully beats his youngest wife for her negligence in not preparing dinner. The priest demands that Okonkwo will pay a fine for breaking the peace during the sacred time known as the Week of Peace. 

During the New Yam Festival, Okonkwo becomes angry when he has nothing to do. He beats Ekwefi. He accuses her of killing a banana tree. Okonkwo has anger issues and cannot rest during festivals when there is no work to do. Okonkwo relieves his stress by beating his wives and children:

He rules his family unit with an iron fist and expects everyone to act on his commands.

Okonkwo plans to go hunting. He is not a very good hunter and Ekwefi makes a snide remark because she is upset with Okonkwo for beating her. She claims that his gun never shoots. Okonkwo, in anger to her snide remark, fires his gun at her but misses. 


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jess1999 | Student

 In the book Okonkwo beats up Ojiogo because he believes that Ojiogo has not done her job as a wife properly. Instead of cooking for Okonkwo, Ojiogo goes to her friend's house to get her hair done. This angers Okonkwo so much that he decides to use violence against his wife. Later on in the story, Okonkwo blames Ekwefi of killing a banana tree, which also results in him beating her. Afterwards though Okonkwo states that he's going to go hunt, but Ekwefi silently comments to herself how Okonkwo is unable to hunt. This of course was heard by Okonkwo, so he aimed his gun at her. These actions of Okonkwo shows the reader of just how short tempered he is.

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