Things Fall Apart | Study Guide

Chinua Achebe

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Things Fall Apart | Part 2, Chapter 18 | Summary



The church faces challenges because it welcomes osu, or outcasts. When two osu come to church, the congregation protests. Mr. Kiaga insists that everyone is accepted. One person leaves because of this while "the wavering converts drew inspiration and confidence." The osu become the most zealous converts.

A Christian has killed a python, and the Mbanta leaders gather to decide how to proceed. The python is a revered animal that the Igbo refer to as "Our Father." Okonkwo wants to force the missionaries out of the village for this offense. However, the group decides the matter is between the person who killed the python and the god.

Okonkwo says this is cowardly and views the clan as womanly, unlike the clan of his fatherland, Umuofia. His speech causes the clan to decide to ostracize their Christians.

Then Okoli, the man who is accused of killing the python, falls ill and dies. The clan sees this as confirmation that "the gods were still able to fight their own battles." As a result, they decide not to ostracize the Christian clan members.


In this chapter, the Christians show a willingness to accept everyone. Their compassion inspires the converts and attracts those who had been at the bottom of the society, such as the osu. They are given a chance to be seen as equals. Accepting the osu tests the strength of the church, as several converts threaten to leave, but it eventually helps the missionaries to increase the number of new members.

Once again, Okonkwo is ready to take action. He wants to drive the Christians out, by any means necessary. Again his reaction is at odds with that of the clan. The anger that fueled his success in Umuofia does not help him in Mbanta, and the church's increasing authority over the people of the village further undermines his own.

Okonkwo has a foil in Mr. Kiaga. A foil is a character whose qualities contrast with the qualities of another character (usually the protagonist). This contrast serves to highlight the main character's qualities. Both Okonkwo and Kiaga are zealous men with an unwavering vision of how things ought to be. However, unlike Okonkwo, Mr. Kiaga is able to inspire those around him to believe as he does.

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