Nwoye in Things Fall Apart Summary

Nwoye in Things Fall Apart Summary

Chapter 17 continues the story of how Nwoye becomes a Christian.The missionaries sleep in the Mbanta marketplace for several nights and preach the Christian gospel each morning. After several days, they ask the leaders of the clan for land on which to build a church.The elders agree to give them a part of the Evil Forest, where people who died of evil diseases are buried, as well as the magical objects of great medicine men.The elders think that the missionaries are fools for taking the cursed land; according to tradition, the missionaries will be dead in a few days.

To the villagers’ surprise and disappointment, the missionaries build their church without difficulty. The people of Mbanta begin to realize that the white man possesses incredible magic and power, especially because the missionaries and the church survived twenty-eight days the longest period the gods allow a person to defy them.The missionaries soon acquire more converts, including their first woman pregnant and previously the mother to four sets of twins, all of whom were abandoned in the forest. The white missionary moves on to Umuofia, while his interpreter, Mr. Kiaga, assumes responsibility for the Mbanta congregation.

As the number of converts grows, Nwoye secretly becomes more attracted to the religion and wants to attend Sunday church service, but he fears the wrath of his father if he enters the church.

One day, Okonkwo’s cousin sees Nwoye inside the Christian church. He rushes to tell Okonkwo, who says nothing until his son returns home. In a rage, he asks Nwoye where he has been, but he gives no answer.When he starts to beat Nwoye with a heavy stick, his uncle Uchendu demands that Okonkwo leave his son alone. Nwoye leaves the hut and never returns.Instead, Nwoye moves to Umuofia, where the white missionary started a school for young people.He plans to return someday to convert his mother, brothers, and sisters.

At first, Okonkwo is furious with his son’s action, but he concludes that Nwoye is not worth his anger.Okonkwo fears that, after his death, his younger sons will abandon the family ancestors because they have become attracted to the new religion.Okonkwo wonders how he gave life to such a foolish and womanly son, one who resembles his grandfather, Unoka, in so many ways.

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