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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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What was Okonko's relationship with his wife Ekewfi and daughter Ezinma in Things Fall Apart?

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Okonkwo's relationship with his wife Ekwefi is marked by her boldness and independence, which leads to severe beatings from him, though he shows rare compassion by standing by her during a crisis. His daughter Ezinma is his favorite child; he loves and admires her spirit and intelligence, often wishing she were a boy. Their strong bond is characterized by deep mutual understanding.

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Ekwefi is Okonkwo’s second wife and she is portrayed as an extremely bold, determined woman. Unlike Okonkwo's other wives, Ekwefi is not afraid to talk back to her husband and has the audacity to knock on his door at night. Despite her bold personality, Ekwefi suffers at the hands of Okonkwo and is severely beaten for minor offenses. In chapter eleven, Okonkwo demonstrates his loyalty and affection for Ekwefi by following her into the forest and keeping watch over the cave when the village priestess takes Ezinma from her. Okonkwo remains by Ekwefi's side, which is a rare glimpse into Okonkwo's compassionate nature.

Ezinma is Okonkwo's spirited daughter, who reminds him of himself. Okonkwo loves and admires Ezinma but refuses to show her affection in order to maintain his tough, masculine persona. Okonkwo not only enjoys her company but also wishes she was a boy. Out of all Okonkwo's children, Enzinma is his favorite. She is bold, sensible, and commands her father's attention.

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Okonkwo's relationship with Ekwefi is different than the relationships he has with his other wives.  Ekwefi is more independent and strong-willed than the other women and she is not afraid to stand up to Okonkwo.  Because of this she suffers severe beating from him.  She was married once before and later fell in love with Okonkwo when he won an important wrestling match and gained acquired fame within his tribe.  Ezinma is their only child who survived past her toddler years and is Ekwefi's pride and joy.

Okonwko thinks the world of Ezinma and often wishes she was a boy.  It has been suggested that this might be due to the fact that they have a strong relationship and Okonkwo longs to have that kind of relationship with his son, Nwoye.  Ezinma understands her father in a way that most other people do not--so much so, that there are times they don't even need to speak to be able to understand one another.  Ezinma is smart, responsible, and very mature for her age and because of this, Okonkwo tends to favor her over the rest of his children.

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