Arrow of God
by Chinua Achebe
Arrow of God Chapter 15 Summary
- Though the servants had been afraid of Ezeulu at first, they grow complacent when Winterbottom doesn't die. When they hear how he refused to be made chief, however, they respect him even more than before.
- Ezeulu still thinks well of Winterbottom. He almost decides that Winterbottom meant well but it was his messengers who fouled things up. Regardless, Winterbottom is ultimately responsible for the actions of his messengers.
- Still, he feels that he is now even with the white man. His real struggle was with his own people.
- In Umuaro, people couldn't believe that Ezeulu had refused the offer to be Warrant Chief. They thought he had been planning to get that position all his life. But Akuebue and others make sure that everybody, far and wide, knows the truth.
- Nwaka suggested that this is proof that Ezeulu was crazy.
- But more and more people in Umuaro begin to believe that Ezeulu had been used badly. People begin to travel to Okperi to visit him.
- Two weeks later, Tony Clarke is allowed to see Captain Winterbottom for five minutes. Dr. Savage actually timed the meeting.
- Winterbottom tells Clarke to leave Ezeulu in prison until he agrees to cooperate. Clarke had tired to make one more attempt to change Ezeulu's mind, and failed. So he didn't know whether to let him go – which could ruin the Administration's reputation –or keep him. Clarke didn't feel quite right about keeping Ezeulu in prison. After all, what did he write down officially as Ezeulu's offense? That he refused to be a chief?
- But now Winterbottom had given him the answer.
- After his meeting with Clarke, Winterbottom is too ill for anybody to see him for two weeks. The servants think he's gone mad or that he's paralyzed. Each rumor only adds to Ezeulu's reputation. And everybody sympathized, knowing that he was unjustly imprisoned.
- Ezeulu had now been in prison for 32 days. Then suddenly he is told he can go home.
- Ezeulu laughs and asks the messengers if the white man is tired. They smile at him and agree.
- Ezeulu asks if they know what his enemies call him. John Nwodika arrives at that moment, and Ezeulu says that Nwodika will confirm this: Ezeulu's enemies say he is a friend of the white man, that he brought the white man to Umuaro.
- Nwodika agrees that it is true.
- Ezeulu continues, claiming that they say he betrayed them to the white man. Then he wonders why he is telling this story to strangers.
- But Nwodika says that Ezeulu should stop worrying about that. Nobody at home could wrestle with the white man as he has done and come out on top.
- Clarke had decided on his own to release Ezeulu. Since had had failed to figure out a satisfactory explanation for the man's imprisonment, he decided to take matters into his own hands after he received authorization from the Resident to make daily decisions. He had received a report from the Secretary for Native Affairs on Indirect Rule in Eastern Nigeria, who recommended suspending the appointment of warrant chiefs for new areas.
- The Warrant Chief for Okperi was specifically mentioned and the letter asked Winterbottom to make decisions tactfully so that the Administration would seem decisive and firm in the eyes of "the natives."
- Winterbottom didn't seem all that interested when he heard what Clarke had decided, and what the Lieutenant Governor had said. He just said, "Shit on the Lieutenant Governor" (15.40).
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