Arrow of God is a novel by Chinua Achebe, his third. It followed his book Things Fall Apart. These two works, along with the third book, No Longer at Ease, . The second novel in Chinua Achebe's masterful African trilogy, following Things Fall Apart and preceding No Longer at Ease When Things Fall Apart ends. Start by marking “Arrow of God (The African Trilogy, #3)” as Want to Read: Ezeulu, the headstrong chief priest of the god Ulu, is worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. Last summer I read Things Fall Apart which is the first of a trilogy by C. Achebe.
|Language:||English, Arabic, French|
|Genre:||Science & Research|
|ePub File Size:||17.75 MB|
|PDF File Size:||12.31 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Register to download]|
Spare and powerful, Arrow of God is an unforgettable portrayal of the loss of faith, and the struggle between tradition and change. Continuing. Chinua Achebe's novel "Arrow of God" centers on the main character's battles with colonialism and Christian influences. Ezeulu is the chief priest of multiple. Arrow of God Chinua Achebe First published in To the memory of my father users and we assume good faith they have the permission to share this book.
They swore that they would not live and see Umuaro spat upon. They were, as before, led by Nwaka. He spoke with his usual eloquence and stirred many hearts. Ezeulu did not speak until the last. He saluted Umuaro quietly and with great sadness.
When I spoke two markets ago in this very place I used one proverb. I said that when an adult is in the house the she-goat is not left to bear its young from the tether. I was then talking to Ogbuefi Egonwanne who was the adult in the house. We have all seen with what care he carried it. I was not then talking to Egonwanne alone but to all the elders here who left what they should have done and did another. They were in the house and yet the she-goat suffered in her parturition.
He wrestled from village to village until he had thrown every man in the world. Then he decided that he must go and wrestle in the land of spirits, and become champion there as well. He went, and beat every spirit that came forward.
Some had seven heads, some ten; but he beat them all. His companion who sang his praise on the flute begged him to come away, but he would not. He pleaded with him but his ear was nailed up.
Rather than go home he gave a challenge to the spirits to bring out their best and strongest wrestler. So they sent him his personal god, a little, wiry spirit who seized him with one hand and smashed him on the stony earth. They told it because they wanted to teach us that no matter how strong or great a man was he should never challenge his chi. This is what our kinsman did—he challenged his chi. We were his flute player, but we did not plead with him to come away from death.
Where is he today? The fly that has no one to advise it follows the corpse into the grave. But let us leave Akukalia aside; he has gone the way his chi ordained. Umuaro is today challenging its chi. Is there any man or woman in Umuaro who does not know Ulu, the deity that destroys a man when his life is sweetest to him? Some people are still talking of carrying war to Okperi.
Do they think that Ulu will fight in blame? Today the world is spoilt and there is no longer head or tail in anything that is done. But Ulu is not spoilt with it. Umuaro, I salute you. Umuaro was divided in two. Many people gathered round Ezeulu and said they stood with him. But there were others who went with Nwaka.
He held another meeting with them in his compound that night and they agreed that three or four Okperi heads must fall to settle the matter.
He held up his palm oil lamp against the face of any who came, to see him clearly. Altogether he sent fifteen people away. Nwaka began by telling the assembly that Umuaro must not allow itself to be led by the Chief Priest of Ulu. He is there to perform its ritual and to carry sacrifice to it. But I have been watching this Ezeulu for many years.
He is a man of ambition; he wants to be king, priest, diviner, all. His father, they said, was like that. But Umuaro showed him that Igbo people knew no kings. He is still our protector, even though we no longer fear Abam warriors at night. But I will not see with these eyes of mine his priest making himself lord over us. My father told me many things, but he did not tell me that Ezeulu was king in Umuaro. Who is he, anyway?
If Umuaro decided to have a king we know where he would come from. Since when did Umuachala become head of the six villages?
We all know that it was jealousy among the big villages that made them give the priesthood to the weakest. We shall fight for our farmland and for the contempt Okperi has poured on us. Let us not listen to anyone trying to frighten us with the name of Ulu.
If a man says yes his chi also says yes. And we have all heard how the people of Aninta dealt with their deity when he failed them. Did they not carry him to the boundary between them and their neighbours and set fire on him?
On the day it began Umuaro killed two men of Okperi. The next day was Nkwo, and so there was no fighting. On the two following days, Eke and Oye, the fighting grew fierce. The next day, Afo, saw the war brought to a sudden close. The white man, Wintabota, brought soldiers to Umuaro and stopped it. The story of what these soldiers did in Abame was still told with fear, and so Umuaro made no effort to resist but laid down their arms.
It was also a good thing perhaps that the war was stopped. The white man was not satisfied that he had stopped the war. He gathered all the guns in Umuaro and asked the soldiers to break them in the face of all, except three or four which he carried away. Afterwards he sat in judgement over Umuaro and Okperi and gave the disputed land to Okperi. For the past month or two the heat had been building up to an unbearable pitch. The grass had long been burnt out, and the leaves of the more hardy trees had taken on the red and brown earth colour of the country.
The most exasperating was the little stream that always coursed down behind the ear like a fly, walking. There was another moment of temporary relief at sundown when a cool wind blew. But this treacherous cool wind was the great danger of Africa, beguiling the unwary European who bared himself to it and received its death-kiss.
Captain Winterbottom had not known real sleep since the dry, cool harmattan wind stopped abruptly in December; and it was now mid-February.
He had grown pale and thin, and in spite of the heat his feet often felt cold. Every morning after the bath which he would have preferred cold but must have hot to stay alive since Africa never spared those who did what they liked instead of what they had to do , he looked into the mirror and saw his gums getting whiter and whiter. Perhaps another bout of fever was on the way. At night he had to imprison himself inside a mosquito-net which shut out whatever air movement there was outside.
His bedclothes were sodden and his head formed a waterlogged basin on the pillow. After the first stretch of unrestful sleep he would lie awake, tossing about until he was caught in the distant throb of drums. He would wonder what unspeakable rites went on in the forests at night, or was it the heart-beat of the African darkness? Then one night he was terrified when it suddenly occurred to him that no matter where he lay awake at night in Nigeria the beating of the drums came with the same constancy and from the same elusive distance.
Could it be that the throbbing came from his own heat-stricken brain? Fifteen years ago Winterbottom might have been so depressed by the climate and the food as to have doubts about service in Nigeria. But he was now a hardened coaster, and although the climate still made him irritable and limp, he would not now exchange the hard life for the comfort of Europe. His strong belief in the value of the British mission in Africa was, strangely enough, strengthened during the Cameroon campaign of when he fought against the Germans.
That was how he had got the title of captain. Unlike many other colonial administrators who also saw active service in the Cameroon he carried his title into peacetime. Although the first rain was overdue, when it did come it was unexpected. Throughout the day the sun had breathed fire as usual and the world had lain prostrate with shock. The birds which sang in the morning were silenced.
The air stood in one spot, vibrating with the heat; the trees hung limp. Then without any sign a great wind arose and the sky darkened. Dust and flying leaves filled the air. Palm trees and coconut trees swayed from their waists; their tops looked like giants fleeing against the wind, their long hair streaming behind them.
Sharp and dry barks of thunder broke into the tumult. The world which had dozed for months was full of life again, smelling of new leaves to be born. Winterbottom, at the railing of his veranda, was also a changed man. He let the dust blow into his eyes and for once envied the native children running around naked and singing to the coming rain.
Di oder two na Cook im pickin. Di oder one yonder na Gardener him brodder pickin. The sky was now covered with restless, black clouds except at the far horizon where a narrow rim of lightness persisted. Long streaks of lightning cracked the clouds angrily and impatiently only to be wiped off again. When it began the rain fell like large pebbles. The children intensified their singing as the first frozen drops hit them.
Sometimes it was quite painful, but it only made them laugh the more. They scrambled to pick up the frozen drops and throw them into their mouths before they melted. It rained for almost an hour and stopped clean. The trees were washed green and the leaves fluttered happily. Winterbottom looked at his watch and it was almost six. Then he remembered that Clarke was coming to dinner and went to the kitchen to see what Cook was doing. Okperi was not a very big station. There were only five Europeans living on Government Hill: Captain Winterbottom was the District Officer.
He took the salute on Empire Day at the march past of all the school children in the area—one of the few occasions when he wore his white uniform and sword.
Mr Clarke was his Assistant District Officer. He was only four weeks old in the station, and had come to replace poor John Macmillan, who had died from cerebral malaria. The other Europeans did not belong to the Administration. Roberts was an Assistant Superintendent of Police in charge of the local detachment.
Wade was in charge of the prison; he was also called Assistant Superintendent. The other man, Wright, did not really belong to the station. He was a Public Works Department man supervising the new road to Umuaro. Captain Winterbottom had already had cause to talk to him seriously about his behaviour, especially with native women. It was absolutely imperative, he told him, that every European in Nigeria, particularly those in such a lonely outpost as Okperi, should not lower themselves in the eyes of the natives.
In such a place the District Officer was something of a school prefect, and Captain Winterbottom was determined to do his duty.
He would go as far as barring Wright from the club unless he showed a marked change. The club was the old Regimental Mess the army left behind when their work of pacification was done in these parts and they moved on. It was a small wooden bungalow containing the mess-room, ante-room, and a veranda. Tony Clarke was dressed for dinner, although he still had more than an hour to go. Dressing for dinner was very irksome in the heat, but he had been told by many experienced coasters that it was quite imperative.
They said it was a general tonic which one must take if one was to survive in this demoralizing country. Today was quite pleasant because the rain had brought some coolness.
But there had been days when Tony Clarke had foregone a proper dinner to avoid the torment of a starched shirt and tie. From time to time he glanced at his gold watch, a present from his father when he left home for service in Nigeria or, as George Allen would have said, to answer the call. He had now had the book for over a fortnight and must finish and take it back this evening. One of the ways in which the tropics were affecting him was the speed of his reading.
In any case the book was pretty dull. But he was now finding the last few paragraphs quite stirring. For those seeking but a comfortable living and a quiet occupation Nigeria is closed and will be closed until the earth has lost some of its deadly fertility and until the people live under something like sanitary conditions.
But for those in search of a strenuous life, for those who can deal with men as others deal with material, who can grasp great situations, coax events, shape destinies and ride on the crest of the wave of time Nigeria is holding out her hands.
For the men who in India have made the Briton the law-maker, the organizer, the engineer of the world this new, old land has great rewards and honourable work. I know we can find the men. Our mothers do not draw us with nervous grip back to the fireside of boyhood, back into the home circle, back to the purposeless sports of middle life; it is our greatest pride that they do—albeit tearfully—send us fearless and erect, to lead the backward races into line. Was it for him the archers bled at Crecy and Poitiers, or Cromwell drilled his men?
Is it for the counting-house they learn of Carthage, Greece and Rome?
Arrow of God
No, no; a thousand times no! The British race will take its place, the British blood will tell. Son after son will leave the Mersey, strong in the will of his parents today, stronger in the deed of his fathers in the past, braving the climate, taking the risks, playing his best in the game of life.
Before he came to Okperi Clarke had spent two months at Headquarters being broken in, and he would never forget the day he was invited to dinner by His Honour the Lieutenant Governor. The big Reception Hall was empty and Clarke would have gone into the front garden to wait had not one of the stewards come forward and offered him a seat and drink. He sat uneasily at the edge of a chair with a glass of sherry in his hand, wondering whether he should not even now withdraw into the shade of one of the trees in the garden until other guests arrived.
Then it was too late. Someone was descending the stairs at a run, whistling uninhibitedly. Clarke sprang to his feet. His Honour glowered at him for a brief moment before he came forward to shake hands.
Clarke introduced himself and was about to apologize. But H. Come and meet Mr Clarke who came a little early. Throughout dinner he never spoke to Clarke again. Very soon other guests began to arrive.
But they were all very senior people and took no interest at all in poor Clarke. Two of them had their wives; the rest including H. The worst moment for Clarke came when H. The rest took no notice; as soon as H.
After what looked to Clarke like hours the A. Then he must have had second thoughts, for he stood up and offered his own place to Clarke. Captain Winterbottom was drinking brandy and ginger ale when Tony Clarke arrived. It will be cooler now, I suppose. Do sit down. Did you enjoy that? I found it most interesting. Perhaps Mr Allen is a trifle too dogmatic.
One could even say a little smug. Captain Winterbottom seemed to read his thought. He was absolutely raw. They soon lost their wings and crawled on the floor.
Clarke watched them with great interest, and then asked if they stung. They are driven out of the ground by the rain. A little smug, I think you said. He might really be one of the missionary people. If you saw, as I did, a man buried alive up to his neck with a piece of roast yam on his head to attract vultures you might have second thoughts. We British are a curious people, doing everything halfheartedly. Look at the French. They are not ashamed to teach their culture to backward races under their charge.
Their attitude to the native ruler is clear. They say to him: By the same token it now belongs to us. If you are not satisfied come out and fight us. We flounder from one expedient to its opposite. We do not only promise to secure old savage tyrants on their thrones—or more likely filthy animal skins—we not only do that, but we now go out of our way to invent chiefs where there were none before. They make me sick. If someone is positive we call him smug. Try something else if you prefer.
Then luckily he lit on a collection of quaint-looking guns arranged like trophies near the low window of the living-room. Captain Winterbottom was transformed. The people of Okperi and their neighbours, Umuaro, are great enemies. Or they were before I came into the story. A big savage war had broken out between them over a piece of land. This feud was made worse by the fact that Okperi welcomed missionaries and government while Umuaro, on the other hand, has remained backward.
It was only in the last four or five years that any kind of impression has been made there. I think I can say with all modesty that the change came after I had gathered and publicly destroyed all firearms in the place except, of course, this collection here.
You will be going there frequently on tour. If you hear anyone talking about Otiji-Egbe, you know they are talking about me. Otiji-Egbe means Breaker of Guns. I am even told that all children born in that year belong to a new age-grade of the Breaking of the Guns. How far is this other village, Umuaro? Unlike some of the more advanced tribes in Northern Nigeria, and to some extent Western Nigeria, the Ibos never developed any kind of central authority.
I see. I went into it in considerable detail … Boniface! How are you doing, Mr Clarke? It represents his ancestors to whom he must make daily sacrifice. When he dies it is split in two; one half is buried with him and the other half is thrown away.
This was, of course, the greatest sacrilege. And so a regular war developed between the two villages, until I stepped in. I went into the question of the ownership of the piece of land which was the remote cause of all the unrest and found without any shade of doubt that it belonged to Okperi. I should mention that every witness who testified before me—from both sides without exception—perjured themselves. One thing you must remember in dealing with natives is that like children they are great liars.
Sometimes they would spoil a good case by a pointless lie. Only one man—a kind of priest-king in Umuaro—witnessed against his own people. I have not found out what it was, but I think he must have had some pretty fierce tabu working on him. But he was a most impressive figure of a man. He was very light in complexion, almost red. One finds people like that now and again among the Ibos.
I have a theory that the Ibos in the distant past assimilated a small non-negroid tribe of the same complexion as the Red Indians. As was to be expected this enmity spread through their two villages and before long there were several stories of poisoning. From then on few people from the one village would touch palm wine or kolanut which had passed through the hands of a man from the other. Nwaka was known for speaking his mind; he never paused to bite his words.
But many people trembled for him that night in his compound when he had all but threatened Ulu by reminding him of the fate of another deity that failed his people. It was true that the people of Aninta burnt one of their deities and drove away his priest. But it did not follow that Ulu would also allow himself to be bullied and disgraced.
Perhaps Nwaka counted on the protection of the personal god of his village. But the elders were not foolish when they said that a man might have Ngwu and still be killed by Ojukwu. But Nwaka survived his rashness. His head did not ache, nor his belly; and he did not groan in the middle of the night.
Perhaps this was the meaning of the recitative he sang at the Idemili festival that year. He had a great Mask which he assumed on this and other important occasions. The Mask was called Ogalanya or Man of Riches, and at every Idemili festival crowds of people from all the villages and their neighbours came to the ilo of Umunneora to see this great Mask bedecked with mirrors and rich cloths of many colours. That year the Mask spoke a monologue full of boast. Some of those who knew the language of ancestral spirits said that Nwaka spoke of his challenge to Ulu.
There is a place, Beyond Knowing, where no man or spirit ventures unless he holds in his right hand his kith and in his left hand his. I made another friend and found he was a poisoner. I made my third friend and he was a leper.
I, Ogalanya, who cuts kpom and pulls waa, I made friends with a leper from whom even a poisoner flees. Ogalanya danced a few steps to the right and then to the left, turned round sharply and saluted empty air with his matchet. Afo passed, Nkwo passed, Eke passed, Oye passed. Afo came round again.
I listened, but my head did not ache, my belly did not ache; I did not feel dizzy. In the five years since these things happened people sometimes asked themselves how a man could defy Ulu and live to boast. But if it was, where did Nwaka get this power? For when we see a little bird dancing in the middle of the pathway we must know that its drummer is in the near-by bush.
It was he who fortified Nwaka and sent him forward. For a long time no one knew this. There were few things happening in Umuaro which Ezeulu did not know. He knew that the priests of Idemili and Ogwugwu and Eru and Udo had never been happy with their secondary role since the villages got together and made Ulu and put him over the older deities.
But he would not have thought that one of them would go so far as to set someone to challenge Ulu. But that was later. The friendship between Nwaka and Ezidemili began in their youth. They were often seen together. Their mothers had told them that they were born within three days of each other, Nwaka being the younger. They were good wrestlers. But in other ways they were very different.
Nwaka was tall and of a light skin; Ezidemili was very small and black as charcoal; and yet it was he who had the other like a goat on the lead. This was strange because Nwaka was a great man and a great orator who was called Owner of Words by his friends.
One of the ways Ezidemili accomplished this was to constantly assert that in the days before Ulu the true leaders of each village had been men of high title like Nwaka. One day as Nwaka sat with Ezidemili in his obi drinking palm wine and talking about the affairs of Umuaro their conversation turned, as it often did, on Ezeulu. It was as though the question having waited for generations to be asked had now broken through by itself. Nwaka had no answer to it.
He knew that when an Ezeulu or an Ezidemili died their heads were separated from the body and placed in their shrine.
But no one had ever told him why this happened. He knew that a great story was coming, but did not want to appear too expectant. He poured himself another hornful. I heard it from the mouth of the last Ezidemili just before he died. Every boy in Umuaro knows that Ulu was made by our fathers long ago. But Idemili was there at the beginning of things. Do you know the meaning of Idemili? As the pillar of this house holds the roof so does Idemili hold up the Rain cloud in the sky so that it does not fall down.
Idemili belongs to the sky and that is why I, his priest, cannot sit on bare earth. Every boy in Umuaro knew that Ezidemili did not sit on bare earth.
But why is the priest of Ulu buried in the same way? Ulu has no quarrel with earth; when our fathers made it they did not say that his priest should not touch the earth.
But the first Ezeulu was an envious man like the present one; it was he himself who asked his people to bury him like an Ezidemili.
Another day when the present priest begins to talk about things he does not know, ask him about this.
As he sat in his obi thinking of the Festival of the Pumpkin Leaves, he heard their bell: His mind turned from the festival to the new religion. He was not sure what to make of it. At first he had thought that since the white man had come with great power and conquest it was necessary that some people should learn the ways of his own deity. That was why he had agreed to send his son, Oduche, to learn the new ritual.
But now Ezeulu was becoming afraid that the new religion was like a leper. Allow him a handshake and he wants an embrace. Ezeulu had already spoken strongly to his son who was becoming more strange every day. Perhaps the time had come to bring him out again. But what would happen if, as many oracles prophesied, the white man had come to take over the land and rule?
In such a case it would be wise to have a man of your family in his band. As he thought about these things Oduche came out from the inner compound wearing a white singlet and a towel which they had given him in the school.
Nwafo came out with him, admiring his singlet. Oduche saluted his father and set out for the mission because it was Sunday morning. The bell continued ringing in its sad monotone.
Nwafo came back to the obi and asked his father whether he knew what the bell was saying. Ezeulu shook his head. Leave your yam, leave your cocoyam and come to church. That is what Oduche says.
Then it is singing the song of extermination. But Nwafo soon rushed back. The tumult in the compound grew louder. Akueke and Matefi did most of the talking. Now and again she rubbed her palms together and showed them to the sky. Akueke turned to Ezeulu as soon as she saw him. Only people of the church had such boxes made for them by the mission carpenter and they were highly valued in Umuaro.
Ezeulu stood before it wondering what to do. Whatever was inside the box became more violent and actually moved the box around. Ezeulu waited for it to calm down a little, bent down and carried the box outside. The women and children scattered in all directions. He did not pass through his obi, but took the door in the red-earth wall of his compound. His second son, Obika, who had just come in followed him.
Nwafo came closely behind Obika, and the women and children followed fearfully at a good distance. Ezeulu looked back and asked Obika to bring him a matchet.
He took the box right outside his compound and finally put it down by the side of the common footpath. He looked back and saw Nwafo and the women and children. The inquisitive monkey gets a bullet in the face.
Obika took a matchet to his father who thought for a little while and put the matchet aside and sent him for the spear used in digging up yams. The struggling inside the box was as fierce as ever. For a brief moment Ezeulu wondered whether the wisest thing was not to leave the box there until its owner returned. But what would it mean? That he, Ezeulu, was afraid of whatever power his son had imprisoned in a box.
Such a story must never be told of the priest of Ulu. He took the spear from Obika and wedged its thin end between the box and its lid. Obika tried to take the spear from him, but he would not hear it. Two cocks? It was not easy and the old priest was covered in sweat by the time he succeeded in forcing the box. What they saw was enough to blind a man. Ezeulu stood speechless. The women and the children who had watched from afar came running down.
In the broken box lay an exhausted royal python. Matefi said: No one answered. When he is released he stubbornly moves the New Yam Festival forward two months. By refusing to announce the feast, the yams cannot be harvested and they rot in the fields causing avfamine.
Today I have three yams and so I know that the time has not come" Aware that he is punishing and hurting his people, Ezeulu likens himself to the arrow in the bow of Ulu. The people become divided between their loyalty to Ulu and their loyalty to the survival of the community. They begin to question the chief priest and ask that the custom be altered. While the people argue and starve, Ezeulu's son Obika dies suddenly while performing as Ogbazulobodo, the night spirit, in a ritual for a funeral.
The people take Obika's death as a sign that Ulu had either chastised or abandoned his priest and "that no man however great was greater than his people; that no one ever won judgment against his clan" Ezeulu is a tragic hero who imperiled his community to make a point. Because Ulu failed them, the people of Umuaro turned to Christianity, harvesting the yams and taking a sacrificial offering to Mr. Goodcountry who received them with open arms.
Of the ending John Updike says that the events of the conclusion "proved unexpected and, as I think about them, beautifully resonant, tragic and theological. That Ezeulu, whom we had seen stand up so invincibly to both Nwaka and Clarke, should be so suddenly vanquished by his own god Ulu and by something harsh and vengeful within himself, and his defeat in a page or two be the fulcrum of a Christian lever upon his people, is an ending few Western novelists would have contrived "Letter from John Updike" Achebe's achievement, then, in this novel, is to portray his obvious love and respect for the Igbo people balanced with an honest representation of their lives, conflicts, and culture.
When studying the venerated Conradian text, Achebe realized that the African characters are stereotypes and that Conrad is giving the typical colonial view of the "natives.
As if pointedly playing with Conrad, Achebe presents his European characters, Winterbottom, Clark, and Wright as one dimensional stereotypes. So successful is he that one critic misses the apparent irony and takes Achebe to task saying, "Once again the white characters are not much more than parodies, though perfectly fair ones.
This novel, also set in Nigeria, struck Achebe as "a most superficial picture of-not only of the country-but even of the Nigerian characters, and so I thought if this was famous, then perhaps someone ought to try and look at this from the inside" Pieterse and Duerden 4.
Conducting a dialogue with Achebe's other novels shows that all of Achebe's texts look at Nigeria "from the inside. The main character, Okonkwo, like the main character Ezeulu in Arrow of God, is destroyed by setting himself apart from his people. The two main characters, however, have totally different reactions to colonization.
The main character is an educated Nigerian man who attempts to negotiate a past and present Nigerian society in the 's-a time of great political change.
The action is set in contemporary Nigeria after achieving independence from British rule. One obvious difference is genre. Arrow of God is a novel, while Menchu's text is a testimonio.
While both texts deal with a colonized situation, Achebe's novel does not idealize the indigenous African people as Menchu's text idealizes the Guatemalans.
Achebe's characters have both good and bad traits, which are equally exposed and explored in the novel. Achebe's point is that the Igbo people were in some way susceptible to assimilation by Western culture because they could not reconcile the internal discord within their own culture.
Perhaps the same dissension within led to the subjugation of Menchu's Mayan culture by the Spanish, but it is not a theme she explores as readily as Achebe. Menchu admits that the Indians are "separated by ethnic barriers, linguistic barriers", that "there's no dialogue between us" , and that the government uses these divisions within the culture to exploit the people , but she does not draw any conclusions from the implications.
Instead, she places the blame on the government, saying "this is what the White Man did; it's the fault of the White Man" Achebe, on the other hand, never blames the colonizers directly. Contemplating these books and the way they convey their cultures, I am reminded of a question Achebe raises in an essay entitled, "The Role of the Writer in a New Nation": "The question is how does a writer re-create the past.
Quite clearly there is a strong temptation to idealize it-to extol its good points and pretend that the bad never existed. This is where the writer's integrity comes in. He receives permission and Umuaro is the unlucky recipient of the demand for free labor. One day, Ezeulu's son Obika is late getting to work.
He had too much palm wine to drink the day before. But when Mr.
Wright whips him, it stirs up the resentments of all the men. Why are they forced to work for free, when Okperi men are paid for their labor? What makes them different? Why should they be treated like this? Though they grumble among themselves, they are never able to come to a decision about what to do.
Because Ezeulu assumes that Obika has done something to deserve the whipping, he precipitates a crisis in his own household. Edogo, his oldest son, gets to thinking, and decides that the old man's propensity to choose favorites among his sons has created a problem.
He believes that Ezeulu has tried to influence Ulu's decision about which son will be the next priest. By sending Oduche to learn the religion of the white man, Ezeulu has essentially taken Oduche out of the running. And Ezeulu has trained Nwafo in the ways of the priesthood, so he's clearly staking his claim on Nwafo as the one Ulu will choose.
But Edogo begins to wonder what will happen if Ulu doesn't choose Nwafo, if he chooses Edogo or Obika. It will create conflict and division in the family and Edogo, as eldest son, will have to deal with it.
He goes to Ezeulu's friend, Akuebue, and asks him to speak to Ezeulu. Akuebue finds that Ezeulu is not receptive to a talk about the divisions within Umuaro, blaming the people of Umuaro for the white man's arrival. The people of Umuaro try to blame Ezeulu because he told the white man the truth when Winterbottom stepped in to stop the war between Okperi and Umuaro. Ezeulu is also unreceptive to reports of divisions within his own household.
He admits that he sacrificed Oduche, not so much to put him out of the running for the priesthood, but because he sees the threat to Umuaro and to the Igbo posed by Christianity. Such a situation requires the supreme sacrifice, that of a human being. Meanwhile, Captain Winterbottom has been under another kind of stress. He decides that Ezeulu is just the man for the job, and sends a messenger to fetch Ezeulu.
Ezeulu refuses to come, saying that the Priest of Ulu doesn't leave his hut, and dispatches the messenger back to Winterbottom with the message that if he wants to see Ezeulu, he'll have to come visit Ezeulu. Winterbottom issues an order for Ezeulu's arrest and sends two policemen to fetch him.
The next day, after consulting with the elders and men of title in Umuaro, Ezeulu decides to set out for Okperi, to find out what Winterbottom wanted.
His heart is angry because Umuaro continues to blame him for the white man's presence, and because they don't show Ulu proper respect. His archenemy, Nwaka, continues to challenge Ulu and the people do nothing about it. The two policemen sent to arrest Ezeulu pass him on the way, but don't realize it until they reach his compound and learn that Ezeulu has gone to Okperi. In Okperi, Winterbottom suddenly becomes ill.
The African servants decide that Ezeulu must have a lot of power because Winterbottom is struck ill only after he issues the warrant for Ezeulu's arrest. So when Ezeulu arrives, the servants are afraid. They don't want to lock him up as ordered; instead, they pretend that the guardroom is a guest room and try to make him comfortable. On this first night in Okperi, Ezeulu has a vision and realizes that his real battle is with his own people, not with the white man at all.
In his vision, he sees Nwaka challenge Ulu, and the people spitting on him Ezeulu , saying he is the priest of a dead god.Then he thought he heard people coming and had to act quickly. May we increase in numbers at the next counting of the villages so that we shall sacrifice a cow and not a chicken as we did after the last New Yam feast.
He had been struggling with Otikpo who wanted to take the marchet from him and so prevent bloodshed. No Chief Priest had ever refused.
The people of Okperi and their neighbours, Umuaro, are great enemies.
Arrow Of God | Book Review
Achebe's point is that the Igbo people were in some way susceptible to assimilation by Western culture because they could not reconcile the internal discord within their own culture. Two of them carried headpans and the soloist clutched his bottle and stone. Ezeulu is the chief priest of the god Ulu , worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. Everyone agreed that the man who killed Akukalia had been sorely provoked.