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Chapter 4 Notes from Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart Chapter 4

Ikemefuna was afraid when he first came to live with Okonkwo and his family, but after a while, he made a place for himself there. He and Nwoye grew close, and Okonkwo was proud of the way that Nwoye followed the older boy's example. Although Okonkwo could never show emotion because that would be a sign of weakness, he was fond of Ikemefuna and the boy began addressing Okonkwo as father.

Ikemefuna had come to join Okonkwo's family at the end of the season of freedom that fell between harvest and planting. It is a ritual in Umuofia that the week before planting begins is called the Week of Peace and the year that Ikemefuna came to Umuofia, Okonkwo broke the peace. One day during that festive week Okonkwo's youngest wife went to plait her hair and forgot to return to Okonkwo's compound to fix her part of his afternoon meal. When she did return, he beat her severely and violated the sacred week. The priest of the earth goddess came to Okonkwo's home before nightfall to dole out the punishment for such a violation. When Okonkwo took the goat, hen, cloth, and cowries to the shrine of the earth god the following day, he was inwardly repentant for his error. "But he was not the man to go about telling his neighbors that he was in error. And so people said he had no respect for the gods of the clan. His enemies said that his good fortune had gone to his head." Part 1: Chapter 4, pg. 26

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After the Week of Peace, Okonkwo and his family prepared their fields and planted their yams. During the rainy season, Ikemefuna and Nwoye had sat around the fire with Okonkwo's other children and told stories. Until his death, Nwoye remembered this time in his life very well because of all the delightful things Ikemefuna taught him then.

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