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I think two extremely important themes are evident in the first seven chapters of this book: namely, fear and social roles. The two are interrelated, but Okonkwo is profoundly afraid of being like his "lazy" father. This is both a personal reaction and a recognition of a negative social role. The women fear for their lives and Ekwefi fears also for her daughter. Yet, at the same time, they realize that they are in this situation precisely because they are the wives of Okonkwo.