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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 19 Summary and Analysis

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Okonkwo grows impatient in the last year of exile. He sends money ahead to Obierika so that he might rebuild part of Okonkwo’s compound. Later, Okonkwo decides to throw a feast to thank his mother’s family for taking him in these seven years. Three goats are slaughtered, a kola nut is given to Uchendu to break open, and palm-wine is passed around among Okonkwo’s large umunna, or extended family. One of the oldest men in this umunna stands up and gives a speech about coming together and remembering who their family is when the white men threaten them.


The villagers use a metaphor when they call a rainbow “the python of the sky.” Given the already established symbolism of the python, this metaphor clearly confers upon the rainbow a powerful, sacred status in Igbo culture.


Family. For the Igbo, family and fellowship are linked, and close friends like Obierika can be like family in that they can be relied upon to support you in good times and bad. When the old man asks the youth of his clan to remember the importance of fellowship, he’s really asking them to stand firm against the encroaching evils of colonization, which will destroy their traditional family ties and, thus, their entire way of life.

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Chapter 18 Summary and Analysis


Part Three, Chapter 20 Summary and Analysis