The story begins in a Nigerian village.
Okonkwo was ashamed of his father, an idler and a debtor, and he was determined not to follow in his footsteps but to earn respect in the clan.
Okonkwo has become a great man in his clan, a fierce warrior and successful farmer, but his determination makes him an unforgiving father and husband.
Okonkwo's determination not to appear weak has led him to take part in the killing of the young boy who has lived with his family for the last three years.
He cannot shake it out of his mind.
The spirits of the ancestors are abroad as the clan gathers for a ceremony.
Okonkwo joins his friend Obierika to celebrate his daughter's wedding.
Forced into exile, Okonkwo returns to his mother's clan with his three wives and eleven children.
Missionaries arrive in the village and ask for land on which to build a church.
The seven years of exile are at an end and Okonkwo prepares to return to his clan.
The new church has been destroyed and the elders of the clan are summoned before the District Commissioner.