Although his father was a lazy man who earned no titles in the Ibo tribe, Okonkwo is a great man in his home of Umuofia, a group of nine villages in Nigeria. Okonkwo despised his father and does everything he can to be nothing like the man. As a young man, Okonkwo began building his social status by defeating a great wrestler, propelling him into society's eye. He is hard working and shows no weakness – emotional or otherwise – to anyone. Although brusque with his family and his neighbors, he is wealthy, courageous, and powerful among his village.
He is a leader of his village, and this place in society is what he has striven for his entire life.Because of his great esteem in the village, Okonkwo is selected by the elders to be the guardian of Ikemefuna, a boy taken prisoner by the tribe as a peace settlement between two villages. Ikemefuna is to stay with Okonkwo until the Oracle instructs the elders on what to do with the boy. For three years the boy lives with Okonkwo's family and they grow fond of him, he even considers Okonkwo his father. Then the elders decide that the boy must be killed, and the oldest man in the village warns Okonkwo to have nothing to do with the murder because it would be like killing his own child. Rather than seem weak and feminine to the other men of the tribe, Okonkwo helps to kill the boy despite the warning from the old man.
Click here to find out more!Shortly after Ikemefuna's death, things begin to go wrong for Okonkwo and when he accidentally kills someone at a funeral ceremony, he and his family are sent into exile for seven years to appease the gods he has offended with the murder. While Okonkwo is away in exile, white men begin coming.