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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Why does the medicine man say Ekwefi's children die in chapter 9 of Things Fall Apart?

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I would just like to add some information about the religious concept of ogbanje. All of Ekwefi's children had died before they were three years old. After her second child died, the medicine man told Ekwefi the baby was a wicked child that upon death entered the mother's womb to be reborn. He advised Ekwefi that if she became pregnant again, she should go back to her family's home to escape the evil spirit. When the third child died, another medicine man mutilated the child's body and buried it in the Evil Forest. When Ezinma got past the age of three, Ekwefi was happy but concerned that something could still happen to her. Another aspect of an ogbanje child is recurring bouts of illness, so at one time, the medicine man had Ezinma show him where her connection to the ogbanje world (her iyi-uwa) was. He wanted to dig it up and destroy it. She finally led him to the smooth pebble wrapped up in a rag, and Ezinma hadn't been sick since then. Now that she's sick again, Ekwefi is really worried.

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