Principal Characters in Things Fall Apart Akuekue



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Principal Characters in Things Fall Apart

Akuekue – daughter of Obierika, whose marriage is negotiated

Anene – Ekwefi’s first husband

Chielo – the current priestess of the oracle

Chika – the former priestess of the oracle, during Unoka’s time

Ekwefi – Okonkwo’s second wife; mother of Ezinma

Enoch – a Christian convert who killed the sacred python and sought confrontation with Igbo traditionalists

Ezeani – the priest of the earth goddess

Ezeudu - an important elder; the oldest man in Okonkwo’s village

Ezeugo – a powerful orator usually chosen as spokesman

Ezinma – Okonkwo’s favorite daughter

Ikemefuna – the boy from Mbaino given to Umuofia as compensation for murder

Maduka – son of Obierika, a promising young wrestler

Mr. Brown – the first white missionary based in Umuofia

Mr. Kiaga – the Igbo missionary left in charge of the fledgling church in Mbanta

Mr. Smith – the zealous white missionary who replaced Mr. Brown

Ndulue – husband who died at the same time as his wife

Nwakibie – a big man in Umuofia, who helped Okonkwo get stated planting yams

Nwoye – Okonkwo’s oldest son, who converts to Christianity and adopts the name Isaac

Obiagelisister of Nwoye

Obierika – Okonkwo’s good friend and confidant

Ogbuefi Udo –the man whose wife was murdered by the people of Mbaino

Ojiugo – one of Okonkwo’s three wives, mother of Obiageli

Okagbue – the medicine man who finds and destroys Ezinma’s iyi-uwa

Okonkwo – the main character, a strong, proud man

Okoye – a friend of Okonkwo’s father, who tries unsuccessfully to get back the money Unoka had borrowed

Ozoemena – wife who dies at the same time as her husband

Uchendu – Okonkwo’s uncle, the senior man of Mbanta where Okonkwo’s family lives in exile

Unoka – Okonkwo’s late father, an easygoing, rather lazy person

Glossary of Words and Phrases Used in Things Fall Apart

Afo – one of the four market days

agadi-nwayi – old woman

agbala – woman; also an insulting term for a man who has taken no title

Agbala – the name of the oracle consulted by the people of Umuofia

Amadioha – the god of thunder and lightning

Ani – the earth goddess

bride-price – or bridewealth; the gifts transferred from the groom’s family to that of the bride, which cement the marriage and legitimize the children

chi – one’s personal god or guardian spirit

Chukwu the supreme god

cowries – shells imported from the Indian Ocean, widely used as currency in precolonial Africa

District Commissioner – the British official in charge of a particular African district

efulefu – an empty, worthless man

egwugwu – the masked spirits, representing the ancestral spirits of the village

Eke – one of the four market days

ekwe – a wooden drum

eneke-nti-oba – a kind of bird

eze-agai-nwayi – the teeth of an old woman

foo-foo – (or fufu) pounded yam eaten as part of most meals

harmattan – a cold, dry wind that blows from the North

iba – fever

Ibo – the older spelling of ‘Igbo,’ less commonly used today

Idemile – one of the three most prestigious titles in Igboland

Ifejioku – the god of yams, the men’s crop and principal food of the Igbo

Iguedo – Okonkwo’s village, one of the nine villages that make up Umuofia

ikenga – a wooden carving that becomes imbued with a man’s personal spirit

ilo – the village common where meetings, ceremonies, and sports competitions take place

inyanga – showing off; bragging

isa-ifi – a ceremony held to determine faithfulness if a woman had been separated from her fiancé or husband for some time and were then reunited with him

iyi-uwa – a special stone that forms the link between an ogbanje and the spirit world. The child would eventually die if the iyi-uwa were not discovered and destroyed.

jigida – a string of waist beads

kite – a bird that appears during the dry season

kola nuts – offered to guests on special occasions

kotma – ‘court-man’ or court messenger; a corruption of the English term

kwenu – a shout of approval and greeting

maize – corn

ndichie – the elders, who meet in the council and make decisions binding the clan

nna ayi – our father

nne – mother

nno – an expression of welcome

nso-ani – sacrilege

nza – tiny bird

obi – the living quarters of the head of the family

obodo dike – the land of the brave

ochu – murder or manslaughter

obanje – a changeling; a child who repeatedly dies and returns to its mother to be reborn

Ogbuefi – an honorific used before the name of a man who has taken the ozo title

ogene – a kind of gong

ogwu – supernatural medicine

osu – an outcast; having been dedicated to a god, the osu was not allowed to mix with the freeborn or to marry one of them

Oye – one of the four market days

ozo – one of the tiles an important Igbo man could aspire to

palm kernels – the core of the fruit of the oil palm tree, which were cracked to release oil

palm oil – used in cooking and for preparing food, also a major cash crop exported to Europe

palm wine – a fermented drink prepared from the sap of certain palm trees

plantain – a starchy kind of banana cooked as food

pottage – a stew

singlets – men’s undershirts

sisal – a kind of cactus plant with fibrous leaves

tufia – a curse or oath

udu – a type of drum made from pottery

uli – a dye used by women for drawing patterns on the skin

umuada – a family gathering of daughters, for which the female kinsfolk return to their village of origin

Umuofiathe clan Okonkwo belonged to, made up of nine villages

umunna – a wide group of kinsmen (the masculine form of umuada)

Uri – part of the betrothal ceremony when the dowry or bridewealth is paid.


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