Things Fall Apart

What happens during Okonkwo's exile?

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After being exiled from Umuofia, Okonkwo seeks refuge among his mother's kinsmen in Mbanta, a neighboring village. During this time, the British begin colonizing the surrounding areas, and this begins a vicious cycle of mutual confrontation as the two cultures clash. For example, the inhabitants of Abame kill the first white man who arrives in their city because they fear him and cannot communicate with him, and the British destroy Abame in retaliation for this murder. Christian missionaries also begin arriving in Umuofia and Mbanta, and they hold debates to gain converts. Most of the people are not interested in the missionaries' religion, but a few people, including Okonkwo's son Nwoye, convert. When Okonkwo finds out about Nwoye's conversion, he becomes enraged and disowns Nwoye. Toward the end of Okonkwo's exile, the tensions between the village and the missionaries escalate when the Christian converts kill a sacred python and the tribe retaliates by ostracizing the Christians. After Okonkwo' s period of exile ends, he holds a great feast to thank his relatives, and he begins making preparations for his return to Umuofia.