Things Fall Apart Chapter 2
Okonkwo had just gone to bed when he heard the town crier announcing that all men should meet in the market in the morning. Okonkwo was sure that the men were being called because some sort of conflict with an enemy clan had arisen, but he was unafraid of war. He'd already collected five human heads from his forays in battle, and on special occasions, he drank wine from the first head he'd brought back from war.
The following morning ten thousand men from all the villages of Umuofia gathered in the market, and Ogbuefi Ezuego, a great orator of the tribe, told the men that a Umuofia woman had been killed when she went to the market in Mbaino. It was decided that before they declared war on the tribe, Okonkwo would go and attempt a settlement -- the exchange of one virgin and one boy from the Mbaino tribe -- before the feared Umuofia released its vengeance on the enemy tribe. Umuofia was revered by its enemies because of its prowess in warfare and magic, and so Okonkwo was treated respectfully when he traveled to Mbaino to arrange the settlement and bring back the human offerings. The virgin was given to the husband of the murdered woman and Ikemefuna, the boy, was sent to live with Okonkwo until the elders decided what to do with him.
Okonkwo was not only feared and respected among the neighboring villages, but also in his home as well. His wives and children all feared him, and Okonkwo himself was driven by the fear of being a failure as his father was. As a child, Okonkwo had had been crushed when he learned from a playmate that his father was referred to as an "agbala" Part 1: Chapter 2, Pg. 11. This word in Ibo means woman, but is also the term for a man without a title. The shame of this pushed Okonkwo to hate everything that his father had loved, gentleness was one of those things and idleness was another. Because of this, Okonkwo treated his family roughly and pushed them to work as hard as he did. His oldest son, Nwoye, who was twelve when Okonkwo brought Ikemefuno from Mbaino, had often seen the back of his father's hand for his laziness and was growing into a sorrowful young man because of it. Ikemefuna was also sad and afraid because he had no idea what was going to happen to him. He'd been in his hut with his family and then suddenly a man talked with his father and then took him away as his mother wept. He didn't know where he was and he had no idea that his father had been partly responsible for the death of the Umuofian woman, and so Ikemefuna was left in the dark.