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Invitation to World Literature

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Glossary

Mr. Brown
The first white missionary to arrive in Umuofia, Mr. Brown is respectful and patient, never attacking clan customs or religion directly. His early success is endangered by his ill health.
The District Commissioner
The highest English official in the region arrives with the missionaries and oversees the fall of the villages from a distance.
audio-iconEkwefi
Okonkwo's second wife, who left her husband for Okonkwo. She has borne 10 children and lost all but one, her daughter Ezinma. Her love for Ezinma leads her to stand up to Okonkwo on occasion.
audio-iconEzinma
She is Okonkwo's favorite child, beautiful and connected to her father in a deep way. Only she can understand him and his moods. Her only flaw, in his eyes, is being a girl
audio-iconIkemefuna
A boy from a neighboring clan who is seized by Umuofia warriors. He lives with Okonkwo's family as a peace offering, and is a more satisfying son to Okonkwo than Nwoye.
Mbanta
The home village of Okonkwo's mother; he and his family are banished here for seven years after Okonkwo accidentally kills someone.
audio-iconNwoye
Okonkwo's eldest son shows every sign―so far as Okonkwo is concerned―of being a lazy, weak man like Unoka. Beaten and belittled by his father, Nwoye will become a prime target for conversion by the English missionaries.
Nwoye's mother
Okonkwo's first wife, whose name is not told to the reader. She, unlike her husband, understands the value of pity, gentleness, and forgiveness. Her stories instruct and delight the children.
audio-iconObierka
A thoughtful member of the clan who is Okonkwo's best friend. He tries to help Okonkwo navigate the troubles that come to him, and is left cleaning up after Okonkwo's catastrophic end.
audio-iconOgbuefi Ezeudu
The highest-ranking man in the village, and holder of three titles―a great rarity.
audio-iconOkonkwo
This self-made man has worked his way up from poverty and, as he sees it, freed himself from the disgrace of having a lazy, "feminine" father. While Okonkwo possesses real virtues of hard work, far-sightedness, devotion to his clan, and love, these co-exist uneasily with impulses of fear, pride, and impatience.
Mr. Smith
The far more zealous Smith replaces Brown and leads his new converts on a full-scale war of ideas against the village.
Umuofia
The village that Okonkow lives in. It is known for its willingness to start or go to war.
audio-iconUnoka
Okonkwo's father, a gentle musician who left his family poor and in debt at his death. He held no titles of rank in the village―driving Okonkwo to vow that he would hold many.