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Free Study Guide-Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe-Free Booknotes
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Chapter 19


Finally, seven years are coming to a close and Okonkwo feels that these years of his life have been wasted although he has achieved a good status in his mother’s land. He realizes how powerful he would be in Umuofian society by now if he had stayed there. In Okonkwo’s last year of exile, he sends money to Obierika to build two huts in his compound. His own obi he will build himself.

He commands his wives to prepare a huge feast as a token of gratitude towards the people of his motherland. Okonkwo thanks the people for allowing him to remain there during his period of exile. Uchendu thanks Okonkwo for the feast and then the oldest member of the clan addresses the crowd, especially the younger members who are most vulnerable to the new religion taking hold. He reveals his distress at the breaking down of their culture and the infiltration of Christianity. He fears that the clan will not survive in the future.


The period of exile is finally over and the farewell feast is elaborately prepared. Cassava tubers, which had been newly harvested, smoked fish, palm oil and pepper, as well as meat and yams are served. Three goats are slaughtered along with a number of fowls. It is like a wedding feast, and therefore the guests are all pleasantly surprised. Okonkwo has overextended himself, attempting to outdo anyone else in the clan, and revealing that he has changed little over the last seven years. He is still ambitious and still scornful of his mother’s clan.

The final speech by Uchendu is filled with pride and blessings for Okonkwo. He reveals himself as an honest and sagacious man who has accepted Okonkwo and his belligerent ways in his life with grace. The oldest member of the clan voices concerns about the clan’s future and foreshadows what is to come in the future.

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