Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning, the neighborhood is celebrating Obierika's daughter's uri—the day on which her suitor brings palm-wine to her kinsmen. Women and children begin to gather to help the bride's mother cook for the whole village. Ekwefi is exhausted from the previous night. Chielo had crawled out of the shrine with Ezinma sleeping on her back in the morning and walked back to the village with Okonkwo and his wife trailing behind at a distance. Chielo put Ezinma to bed and walked away in silence.
Chielo is still in priestess mode as she returns Ezinma to her bed and leaves without a word. The neighborhood is also celebrating Obierika's daughter, and we get a glimpse into how the women and children work together to finish the preparations.
Themes
Tradition vs. Change Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
As the women head out, Okonkwo feels very tired and sleepy, since he didn't sleep at all the night before, out of worry for Ezinma. Obierika's compound is busy with preparations for the uri, cooking yams and cassava, preparing goats for the soup. Things are going smoothly until a cow gets loose, and most of the women go out to chase it back to its owner, who pays a heavy fine.
Okonkwo once again hides his worry, because he considers showing any emotions other than anger to be feminine. We also see another example of how Umuofia preserves order by extracting fines from those who break the structure of their society.
Themes
Tradition vs. Change Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Early in the afternoon, the first two pots of palm-wine from Obierika's in-laws arrive, and they're presented to the women. Obierika's friends and relatives arrive soon afterwards and discuss how many pots of wine the in-laws might bring. They worry that the in-laws might be closefisted, but the in-laws end up bringing fifty pots in total, when Okonkwo had only predicted thirty.
Another Umuofia custom is described in great detail. Through all the ceremonies and traditions described in the book, Achebe shows us that the Igbo people aren't “primitive” and simple, as the white men think of them. In fact, these traditions aren't all that dissimilar from Western traditions.
Themes
Tradition vs. Change Theme Icon
Obierika presents kola nuts to his in-laws, and their families formally announce their alliance. The families and friends feast, and as night falls, the girls begin to dance. The bride comes out with a rooster in her right hand, presenting it to the musicians before she also begins to dance. When the guests leave, they take the bride with them to spend seven market weeks with her suitor's family. Okonkwo makes them a gift of two roosters.
We see more Igbo traditions described here, including the one that says the bride will live with the suitor's family for seven market weeks. The fact that the bride is the one who is obligated to leave her family once again reveals the power dynamic to lean in favor of the man of the household.
Themes
Tradition vs. Change Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
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