Page 129. " It is a female ochu. "

The word ochu refers to Okonkwo's crime. 

In explanation: "The crime was of two kinds, male and female. Okonkwo had committed the female, because it had been inadvertent" (124). 

The murder is referred to as 'female' because it was unintentional. 


Page 131. " He had been cast out of his clan like a fish onto a dry, sandy beach, panting. "

This simile simply states that Okonkwo's dream has been ruined. He feels as though he has become an outcast and been sent to an unfamiliar land where he cannot survive (like a 'fish out of water').

Page 132. " It was a full gathering of umuada. "

During the final steps of the Igbo marriage process, family members attend a confession ceremony. Women are the most involved, while the men watch from a distance.

Umuada roughly translates to "all of the women in the immediate family."

Page 138. " "'An albino,' suggested Okonkwo." "

An albino is someone affected with the genetic disease albinism. Albinism is characterized by a lack of pigment in the skin causing it be extremely pale and white-looking. It is a fairly rare disease. Albino people have faced persecution in Africa in both the past and modern times. Across African cultures they have been viewed as bringing either good luck or cursing a village.


Visit here for a 1975 study on 1000 Nigerians.  It shows the clinical and social impacts of Albinism as well as the different variations,  prevalence, and transmission of the disease.

Page 138. " He was not an albino. He was quite different." He sipped his wine. "And he was riding an iron horse. "

Iron horses, known in Western pop culture as bicycles, are a human-powered mode of mechanical

transportation used worldwide. They number over one billion, twice the number of

automobiles, and are the principal mode of transportation in many regions.


Iron horses were introduced in the early 19th century. 



Page 144. " He spoke through an interpreter who was an Ibo man, though his dialect was different and harsh to the ears of Mbanta. Many people laughed at his dialect and the way he used words strangely. Instead of saying "myself" he always said "my buttocks." "


Nigeria, Benin and Cameroon Languages
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNigeria, Benin and Cameroon Languages - Credit: Ulamm

Igbo is the native language spoken by the Igbo people of southeast Nigeria. Over twenty different dialects exist in the Igbo language. Not all Igbo speakers can comprehend all of these dialects. Examples of dialects are Enuani, Ohuhu, Onicha, Bonny-Opobo, Olu and Owerre Owerri (Isuama), Umuahia, Onitsha, Orlu, Ngwa, Afikpo, Nsa, Oguta, Aniocha, Eche, Egbema, Oka (Awka), Bonny-Opobo, Mbaise, Nsuka and Unwana. The Igbo language uses a lot of proverbs to enrich the language.  The Igbo language is also a tonal language, with high and low tones.

The vast body of dialects encompassed by the umbrella term "Igbo language" is the most likely reason for the interpreter's apparent misuse of language; no common dialect has ever been established for communication between different regions.

Igbo Vowel Chart
Public DomainIgbo Vowel Chart - Credit: Jeffrey Connell