This is a summary work of the book that was given as an assignment to a group of students from the African Methodist Episcopal University, located in Monrovia. We as a group take responsibility for this work, for not informing the writer of this book before carrying such summary, and publishing it to the web. Against this back ground, we want to get the permission from the rightful authority to kindly permit us do this.
The work you are about to read, “Concubine” was written by Elechi Amadi, a Nigerian writer.
In this report, you will read about a girl named Ihuoma; the most beautiful girl in the village of Omokachi, even though she is from Omigwe. She got married to Emenike, but later Emenike was killed by his friend, Madume, over a piece of land, and more for the business of Ihuoma. Ihuoma as been the major character in this book/work is married to the sea-king who does not want her get marry to any man on earth.
No one in the village is ready to believe that the most beautiful, the hardest working and the most elegantly behaved woman in the village, Ihuoma, isn’t just an ordinary woman. Two men have already been killed by the wrath of her husband, a god of the sea. When the best dibia ( medicine man) in the village tells a young man in love with and inspiring to marry Ihuoma the truth of the matter, the young man vows that if he married Ihuoma for only a day and then died, his soul would travel away happily. It happens that he is struck just a little before marrying Ihuoma proving that she is indeed a goddess and therefore a god’s concubine.
We want to dedicate this to Miss. Irene Bainda of the Chicken Soup Factory, the AME University Family and all employees and Staff of the In Profile Daily Newspaper (www.inprofiledaily.com) , in particular the Publisher, Executive and Assistant Executive Secretary, the Lay out Artist, Managing Editor, Editor – In – Chief, News Editor, Reports, Managers (Marketing, Desktop Publishing, Production and Circulation), Mr. Victor Garnett, Mr. Jerry T. Flomo and all of our friend, and also to Mr. Sampson and the English Department of the .
I. AUTHOR’S AUTO-BIOGRAPHY
Elechi Amadi who writes with speed and sharpness and exhilaration…A lovely and dignified picture of a society not only still ruled by the gods; the Author of “Concubine”, was born in 1934, in the of Aluu, near Port Harcourt in Eastern Nigeria.
He attended the Government College, Umuahia. He also graduated from the University College where he graduated with a Degree in Physics and Mathematics.
Amadi has written many African novels including the “Slave (AWS 210), and Isiburu, a verse play”. He also authored the book Ethnics in Nigerian Culture (Hernemann). Elechi has served the Nigerian Army, the Former 3rd Marine Commandos and later became the Head of the Ministry of Education.
Many people who have this book, “Concubine” have praised it for its simplicity and it is very easy to be responded. It presented the exact copy of the African Culture “The Village Life”
II. GENERAL SUMMARY OF THE NOVEL (CONCUBINE)
In this chapter, fear hits emenike as he wonders over so many things, including the death of an old chief. There is a quarreled over a piece of land between Emenike and Madume, as Madume is considered as dishonest land grabber, by Emenike, and Madume threatens to beat Emenike if only he (Emenike) does not desist from his habits. The quarreled between them continued until they got into a fight that led Emenike suffering from a side complain.
Like some guys who have no time as to their prospects in life, Madume was now in his thirties and had not achieved anything in life. His huts were small, he had very small yam farm, and even never cared for having more houses only because he feared thatching them when ever it’s rainy season.
Wolu, his wife who had bore four children (girls) for him was annoyed with him about his weakness in doing things to cater to his children. He only cares to talk about his children’s dowry that would be paid by their grooms to be. He feels that he’s going to make more monies from their prices.
Madume has fallen sick, a day after the fight between him and Emenike. Nwokekoro has come to visit him-that which is a sign of reassurance for him.
The chapter beings with the gradual recovery of Emenike, as he and his kids are found in the reception hall roasting and eating maize. The family of him is now happy over his recovery.
The scene is in Omokachi, a small village comprising eleven family groups. It was located by Aliji and Omigwe. It takes only a brave man to leave Aliji to go to Omokachi. Chiolu was another nearby village to Omokachi; people from the both villages met most often and worship together, to Mini Wekwu. People worship, the god that controls smallpox.
During the times, people dared not to be kind, using being is that the gods change at any time in the form of human beings to ask for gesture, and if denied, that person would contract the disease. Ihuoma’s husband Emenike is dead as the result of a lock-chest, even though people believed it was as the result of the fight between him and Madume.
It is market day, as Ihuoma sits and witnesses her romping about forgetting about the death of their father. Wolu comes to visit Ihuoma at her house with the clear mind that Ihuoma was tired of people coming to sympathize with her.
Wolu tried to converse with Ihuoma, she (Ihuoma) cried a lot for every time she is been reminded. Ihuoma accuses Wolu about the death of her husband, blaming it on her (Wolu) husband. Ihuoma cried over and over and again. She thought about here husband. Her mother Okachi wondered over the situation too. They wondered and wondered as Ekwueme comes to visit the bereaved family.
The chapter opens with Ekwueme going back to his home, after few hours of visitation to the ber3eaved family. He and Wakiri are discussing on how to design and sing a song in honor of Emenike, Ihuoma’s husband.
One month after Emenike’s death, people of the village gathered themselves one evening to have some entertainment/relaxation. Men took-up women. Mman who happened to be one of the best drummers in the area is found carrying his normal activities of beating drum. It was at this that the song composed in honor of Emenike;
Do you know that Emenike is dead?
Eh – Eh – Eh,
We fear the big wide world
Eh – Eh – Eh,
Do not plan for morrow,
Eh – Eh – Eh …was sung.
This song touched Ihuoma, and she cried in a very loud voice, remembering and missing her late husband; the one she once loved. The ghost of her husband appeared to her and asked her for food and later vanished at the she had gone to prepare the food.
After a year of sorrow, when the rain had come again – blooming the farms, the feast of Emenike was set for the period right after the yam festival, when there would be more yams to feed those who attend the rites. Nnadi; Ihuoma’s brother – in – law had dried enough of meat for the festival; there were goats, chickens and much food for the feast. The place and all is now prepared for the feast. The old ladies were welcomed with dried meat, palm oil sauce and pepper, while the people arrive, and then entered two ladies with sharp knives in their hands. They rushed in the place with a loud voice informing the people about an attack that has been fought by the gods, on their behalf.
Ihuoma can now dress as the feast has come to an end. She dresses for the first time since after the death of her husband.
The worries and feast had all gone. Ihuoma had now come to realize that she needs to cater to her children that her husband has left behind. She puts all other things behind her and became focused as she regains her structure and beauty. Men again chased after her. While she goes to visit her parents, they tell her about the love that Ekwueme has for her, and she down plays it.
The rainy season is now here, Ihuoma is in worry as to her thatches conditions, as Nnadi; Emenike’s brother discusses with his wife to help Ihuoma fix her thatches the next day.
The next morning, Nnadi, Emenike and Wakiri got set at Ihuoma to help her in the process. As they build the thatches, they are found discussing on how many people in the town felt that Ekwueme’s mother would not have bore any other child again after she had bore Ekwueme and his little sister at which time twelve years have passed without her getting any sign of pregnancy. By the time she got pregnant, nearly every one felt that it was a disease until Ndalu, the expert of child birth announced that she was pregnant after which time she (Ekwueme's Mother) gave birth to a strong boy.
Emenike’s death brought confusion into the mind of Madume, but later over came it, saying that Emenike’s death was somehow supported by the gods. He believed that he now had a second chance of getting Ihuoma, but Ihuoma no time for him; she didn’t even speak to him when ever they met. Madume had gone to his wife to discuss the matter with her, about his love for Ihuoma, and his intention to marry her. But the pronouncements shocked his wife.
Madume later left and went to the street where he met Ihuoma. He tried speaking to her and she only replied with out any further comment. At Ihuoma’s house, Madume saw the grave of the late Emenike and he became afraid to the extent he had to cut his toe. He later left her and went to his house where Anyika had come to visit him, he explains to Anyika about the situation/his cut, and Anyika tells him that this was as the result of the anger of Emenike and his ancestors, therefore, he Madume is to make a sacrifice to the gods before he can be set free.
This chapter opens with Nnenda, Ihuoma's neighbor and friends conversing with one another about how their children and husbands had been sick for the past times. Nnenda goes to Ihuoma asking her to go into the bush together. While on their way, Nnenda tells Ihuoma that Ekwueme pleads with her, but Ihuoma had no time for what was been said by her friend
The night has fallen and Madume sends Wolu to fetch water for him to wash his hands. As he washes his hands, he feels that no spirit would anything to him only because he had done the sacrifice.
Ihuoma is found picking plantain on the land which her husband, Emenike was killed for after Madume had beaten him for that land. Madume appears on the scene and tried stopping her from picking anything from the land, reason being, he claimed that the land was his, even though the elders had investigated that matter long ago when emenike was alive, and the land was Emenike as the elders quoted. But yet still, Madume claimed the land to be his. He asked her to compromise the case or else he takes everything away form her, but she refused, and jumped on her to fight when people from the near by village came to part them, and Ihuoma left the place, leaving him there.
While there alone, Madume decide to pick some plantain when a cobra spat in his eyes, and the people rushed him Anyika and told them that this the cause of some extra powers that Madume needs to make a serious sacrifice before he can be freed from this trouble.
With they did, Madume still became blind, he even grew more problematic as his wife suffers from it and later decide to leave to go to her parents to come back the next morning.
The sound of cries shocked the entire town from the home Madume, as the people come around to find out what was the cause. To their outmost surprise, Madume is found dead, his body is an abomination to the town; therefore, he needs to be thrown into Minita; the place where rejected bodies were to be carried.
It is an Eke day, Ihuoma is found sitting at her reception hall crackling palm nuts when she saw Wolu coming her direction and she thought about the way Madume was killed – so bad. Nnenda had come to visit her that day, as Ekwueme comes to visit also, and he was asked to come the next day.
Wakiri, Nnadi, Mgbachi, Ihuoma and the other are eating as they get prepare for the job to thatch Ihuoma's house. After the job, everyone went his way, as Ihuoma and Ekwueme went to her house. At her house, Ekwueme tells her that he really loves her but she aggressively responded him. As the result, Ekwueme woke up angrily and decided to leave the place, while on his way, she ran behind him asking him to come back so that they can better talk about it. She told him that he is a married man, he needs to look after his wife and keep her.
The whole place is now dark as Ekwueme went home and rocked at his parents’ window to open the door for him. His parents are now discussing on how to get set to go and pay Ahurole's dowry, as they also discourage him form Ihuoma.
Ahurole and her best friend Titi are fetch water together as they talk about Ahurole sleeping in bed with someone, most especially man, and she is advice to start practicing it. Wonuma, Ahurole's mother tells her to get prepare to work the next day, and to know how to compose her self as they get ready to receive their guests.
Right after the advice, Ahurole and her brother Ikezam are found quarreling over a piece of soup she had cooked for them. This led to Ahurole crying because her brother had insulted her, she claimed.
When both sides (Ekwueme and Ahurole) parents put them together, they were by then five (5) and eight (8) respectively, Ahurole's parents were happy for Ekwueme to get marry to their daughter.
Ekwueme is not happy over the idea of getting married to Ahurole. He told his father about this, he had planned to go to his animal trap the next morning while his parents were getting prepared for their departure. His recent behaviors worried his mother a lot, and she even thought about Ihuoma, saying was the one stealing her son heart from the person they want him to marry. She and her husband told Ekwueme about the dangers involved in getting married to Ihuoma; they told him it would bring them disgrace.
As the result of this, Ekwueme's parents sent words to Ahurole's parents asking them to postpone the date to another date.
With tiredness, Ihuoma returns from Omokachi where she had gone to visit her parents. She discusses with Nnadi about her family in Omokachi as Nnadi tells her how Ekwueme had gone looking for her while she was not there.
Nnadi is gone as Ekwueme and his father Wigwe, come to visit Ihuoma that night, as she tells them that the night was too dark for them to come and visit her. Wigwe tells her that he had come to find out about the relationship between her and his son, as he talks, Nnadi arrives. Nnadi had come fearing that it was some one else who had come to either harm Ihuoma or to visit her. Because of the visit of Nnadi, Wigwe changes his words by saying, Ihuoma, I have to ask you to marry my son, but knowing the situation very well, Ihuoma refused his gesture and turned it down. Ekwueme and his father woke up and left for home with all the Vaxstation in him, even though he was not vexed with Ihuoma, but his father.
The next morning, Ekwueme woke up and went into the bush and spend the whole day there, as his mother worried about his where about. Late in the evening, he returned with the biggest animal he had ever killed in his life. They fixed the meat, dried some and he even took some and gave it to Ihuoma's son that which Ihuoma took and wanted to throw away.
The next Eke has come, Wigwe, Mmam, Wakiri and Ekwueme are found making their way Omigwe, to talk about Ahurole, the girl whom Ekwueme's parents want him to marry. There is no sign of anxiety in the eyes of Ekwueme; he seems to be sad as they are on their way. But while in Omigwe, they were treated as if they were at home. Ekwueme felt about Ahurole in many different negative ways, but at the end, he finally bowed to it.
They talk has begun, as Ahurole shows no sign of maturity even in the presence of Ekwueme, the man she is about to get marry to. They continued the ceremony to Omokachi, the home of Ekwueme, where he had so many girls waiting to see him and his girl. But while in Omokachi, the girls tell Ahurole to be a girl who is strong, because there is no lazy girl in their place, Omokachi.
The ceremony is now over, as Ihuoma congratulates Ahurole about the ways in which she had married Ekwueme. At least Ihuoma now believes that she is free as the result of the wedding.
Things are now normal in Ihuoma's life once again, she no longer worries over any thing. She and her kids play during the night at most times, she thinks that Ekwueme does not think about her any longer as she her self does not think about Ekwueme any longer.
What a great thing? What should have been negotiated for with in a period of one year has now been done in a period of six months. Ahurole whose negotiation should have been done with in a year’s time in order for things to go on straight was now done in a period of ½ a year. She is now found in the house of Ekwueme, six months after the marriage ceremony.
Ihuoma's friendly actions and kindness towards Ahurole had left Ekwueme with no alternative but to feel reluctant about her. Even though Ekwueme is now a married man, but his behaviors still remain the same. He still eats the overnight foo-foo from his mother, he still goes in to the bush to see his trap the usual times he had been going, he still wrestle as like the times when he was small when he was a lazy boy. He even makes confusion with his wife over the kind of food to cook for them that day – that which actually hurt Ahurole and led her to cry.
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
At the home of Ekwueme and Ahurole, there was some quarrel, Emenike now feels that Ahurole needs to be with an old man to pet her at all times. He is found angry with his wife most often, his parents had advice him, but to no avail. There was no water ready for his bath most often, he had no sleep at all any longer, and he blamed all these to the childhood marriage his parents had carried on. With all these on going, they got in to fight on some occasions and she had to escape to go else where.
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
The whole village is up side down, every one is doing his/her own thing, the sun is going down Chiolu, every one is found in the market, as Ihuoma and Ekwueme are seen transacting business as they discuss Ahurole and her times being with Ekwueme. Ekwueme still has that love for Ihuoma, and is still pestering her, but she has no time for that. She even planned to report the matter to his mother. She even told Nnadi to advice him on the matter.
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
Ahurole's goat that was given to her by her mother as a present on her wedding, is no where to be found, it has getting missing, and it was found in Ihuoma's compound. She had come to look for her goat in Ihuoma's compound when Ekwueme saw her coming out and he accused her of pestering around with her, and it made him angry.
Few times after, Ahurole set and left for her mother’s place, leaving Ekwueme all alone. At her mother’s place, she was informed of a medicine to be made to tract down Ekwueme, and she carried it alone with her back to Omokachi.
Ekwueme has now fallen sick as his entire body is now unable to do anything. His conditions had grown worst; he is no longer in good condition. His people worried about it, as he lies down.
CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE – THIRTY
Ekwe as he is commonly called, Ekwueme has escaped from the house as his sickness intensifies. His parents have given up on him, but have gone to look after him as to his location. All the best medications were given him up to this time but to no avail.
Ekwueme's situation has full the minds of every one, every body in the village are now concerned and worried about him. He waste every food that comes before him, he does not want to see any one before. He only talks with Ihuoma as he tells her that his parents; the stupid fools are the ones embarrassing him. In his mad state of mined, he tells Ihuoma that he can’t do with out her, and thus he wants to marry her. He tells her that he loves her even more than before.
The recent pronouncement of Ekwueme shocked every one, the bride price of Ahurole is to be returned to her parents, and the parents of Ekwueme made the proposal to Ihuoma's parents, and her parents were happy about it.
But before the new marriage, Ekwueme's parents have been warned to check as to whether there was any benevolent spirits behind what’s happening to their son, that indeed they did. When they went to find out, they found out that Ihuoma was belonging to the sea-king who had married for some years back, and he was angry with any man who comes across her, thus leading to that man’s death.
Now that the secret of Ihuoma is out, every thing is up side down, she is troubled by the world, she fights and later felt to the ground, after which time Ekwueme died.
III. DISCUSSION OF MAJOR THEMES
The major themes here are:
A. Making love with the most beautiful girl in your surrounding: when ever there is a girl in your community that seems to more beautiful than the other girls in that place, be careful with that person, you don’t know what is making that person like that, most especially when person is hard to be dealt with, hard to agree to the love of people.
B. The power of the sea-king: as it is been said, behind every thing, there is a certain kind of power, so too was it in the book “Concubine”. Ihuoma who happens to be the concubine had a sea-king behind her that would kill any man who follows her.
C. The believe in Supernatural Powers: in our African Culture, we believe in supernatural powers. We believe that nothing can happen on its own, unless there is some kind of power that is responsible for it.
D. Reasons for some of the minor conflicts we have in our societies today: there are so many reasons why we have many minor conflicts in our world of today. Some of those reasons would be land problem, the fight over nature, the fight over woman/man, etc.
IV. DISCUSSION OF CONFLICTS
A. The conflict between Emenike and Madume, this lead to the death of Emenike. During a fight that occurred between Emenike and Madume, when Emenike developed chest-lock, it led to Emenike’s death.
B. The conflict between Ihuoma and Madume, this conflict also led to the death of Madume, after he had hit Ihuoma, a cobra spat into his eyes.
C. There is an internal conflict in the mind of Madume after the death of Emenike. He worries about it, he worried over his life.
D. Another conflict arose when Emenike had the desire to follow Ihuoma. There was a conflict him, his mother, father, Ahurole and even with Ihuoma.
E. Ihuoma's conflict started when she could no longer understand her self, when she felt that all was over, most especially when her husband died.
V. THE ROLE OF SUPERNATURAL POWERS IN AFRICAN DAILY LIFE.
Supernatural Powers as it is well known in our African plays a major role in our daily activities. Every thing we do in Africa has something to do with culture. We believe in Supernatural Powers to the extend that if a woman is even pregnant, we say that there is a special kind of power (from the ancestors) that is responsible for that. When there is no rain, we say the gods are angry. These are things and happening of nature that we believe in to link it to the gods/ancestors. We respect it to the extend that we are even afraid of it. These are all things that do not actually exist, but it does in their communities and societies in which they all live.
VI. WHO ARE THE CONCUBINES?
A. IHUOMA: is the most beautiful girl in the village of Omigwe. She had an ant-hill complexion. Her body was smooth that any who sees her for the first time falls in love with her. She got marry to Emenike who was a good wrestler.
B. HER SUITORS
1. Madume, he was the first suitor of Ihuoma. He was angry why Emenike got marry to her only because he had decided to marry her. With this, he got mad to the extent that he even went into a fight with Emenike after which time Emenike died as the result of the pain put into his body by Madume.
2. Ekwueme was the one who had the desire to marry Ihuoma after the death of her husband; Emenike. Ekwueme, even though he had the desire marry Ihuoma, even made a proposal to her, but she down played his request. His parent had planned for him to marry Ahurole instead of Ihuoma.
VII. FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONFLICT BETWEEN MADUME AND EMENIKE
Madume, as is known in the novel, is known to be a person who loves quarrelling a lot. The conflict him and Emenike arose over a piece of land that the both of them claimed to have. Madume is considered as dishonest land grabber, by Emenike. As the result of this, the both of them fought for a while throwing one another aside, from place to place. The fight led to Emenike’s side developing a severe pain that made him sick. Worst of all, Emenike taken Ihuoma from Madume caused the conflict to intensify.
VIII. HOW IS THE SEA KING RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CALAMITIES THAT BEFELL
A. EMENIKE: the sea-king was responsible for the death of Emenike because, at the time Emenike and Madume fought, even though Madume hit Emenike, but the hit would not have Emenike to dies if only he did not love to Ihuoma, the goddess of the sea.
B. MADUME: as for Madume, his death was cleared. It was cleared that he was killed by certain power of the sea. Prior to his death, Madume was sprayed by a cobra in his eyes after he had harmed Ihuoma for several times. All the medications were applied, but to no avail. He was even told by Anyika that his condition was caused by powers from the outside world.
C. EKWE: has fallen sick, no one knows whether the medicine his wife brought from Omigwe was the one responsible for his sickness or not, or it was the sea-king responsible for it. All they believe was that he got his sickness from the bush where he had gone to make his trap, from the dirty waters that led to ratchets and itches coming on his skin. The sea-king had made him like that because he had continued troubling Ihuoma.
IX. DESCRIPTION OF MAJOR CHARACTERS AND THEIR ROLES
A. Ihuoma, a beautiful young widow, has the admiration of the entire community in which she lives, and especially of the hunter Ekwueme. However, their passion is fated, and jealousy, a love potion and the closeness of the spirit world, lift this simple Nigerian tale onto a tragic plane.
B. Emenike, the husband of Ihuoma, who was killed as the result of a chest lock, after a fight between him and Madume.
C. Madume, the husband of Wolu. He was killed as the result of a cobra spiting into his face. He loves quarrel, he was a lazy man who achieved nothing while he was young. He was spectacular wrestler.
D. Ekwueme, a villager who wanted Ihuoma but rather failed. He had Ahurole as his girl friend whom he later married.
E. Nnadi, the brother in law to Ihuoma who aided her when her husband was dead. He watched over Ihuoma at all times.
F. Ahurole, the wife of Ekwueme. She was an Omigwe woman who was very beautiful.
G. Wonuma, Ahurole's mother
H. Wagbara, Ahurole's father.
I. Nnenda, Ihuoma's neighbor.
X. CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF NOVEL ( PERSONAL IMPRESSION)
This novel is very easy to be read, understood any analyzed. We feel that Ihuoma, even though it was because of her that Emenike, Madume and Ekwueme got killed and crazy, but yet still one way or the other, she can’t be held liable for that, but rather they should be held responsible for their own situation, most especially Madume and Ekwueme.
Let not the cultural be taken lightly, the supernatural powers be taken for granted.
Don’t learn to intrude into other people’s business and never learn to follow others’ women, and never see any beautiful or handsome woman or man in you community and just feel that all is well with that person, some of them might in so many things. Be your self, watch your steps in life and don’t be an efulefu.
We recommend that these African novels be treated in our school with seriousness, not for joke, as compared to the European ones.
Special thanks to the Almighty God for giving us the life and breathe we breath today. Let us give thanks and appreciation to our parents for the time and patient they have exhibited over the year for our sake. We must commend the publisher of the In Profile Daily Newspaper for allowing us use his facilities in doing this assignment. We must also extend our many thanks and appreciations to Mr. Victor W.W. Smith for his inputs into this work, and all those who helped in making this report a success.
All written in this book was taken from the Concubine, written by Elechi Amadi