Arrow of God
by Chinua Achebe
Arrow of God Chapter 6 Summary
- Ezeulu knows that the act Oduche has committed is very serious, but he's so annoyed by the whispers and gossip and the "impudent message" (6.1) from Ezidemili that he can't help but take a posture of defiance and anger.
- Ezeulu claims that misfortune is good, every once in awhile, because it allows you to see who your true friends and neighbors are.
- He calls for Ugoye and asks where their son Oduche is hiding. But she says she does not know. He admits that he is at fault for this; Ezeulu should have seen this coming when he sent Oduche to church with the white men. But he won't accept that Ugoye doesn't know where her son is.
- Ugoye requests that Oduche not go to the church anymore.
- No, Ezeulu insists, on that he remains steadfast. Oduche will continue to go to church.
- Oduche returns home, scared, but Ezeulu ignores him. Nobody is glad to see him.
- Ezeulu realizes that what Oduche did to the snake was wrong. If a man kills the royal python, in order to rectify the error, he must arrange an elaborate funeral for it. But what do you do for a man who puts the python in a box? There is no custom for that!
- With the festival of the New Pumpkin Leaves coming in six days, Ezeulu, must purify the village of this and other sins.
- Ezeulu's in-law, Onwuzuligbo, visits him. (Onwuzuligbo had been one of the men who came to find out why Akueke's husband had been beaten and taken away from his home and family). Ezeulu greets him by saying his death must be near, because this is such an unusual sight.
- The men eat kolanut and draw chalk on the floor. Then Onwuzuligbo asks about "our wife Akueke." Ezeulu tells his son Nwafo to call Akueke.
- Akueke comes and greets him, then leaves again.
- Then Onwuzuligbo tells him the purpose of his visit: that his people will becoming to visit in the morning. Ezeulu says he will not run away. Onwuzuligbo says they are not coming for trouble, but for in-law business.
- Ezeulu is glad to know that they are returning to make peace and to take Akueke back home with them. He sends for his chief wife Matefi and tells her to cook for them. She claims she has no cassava but that Akueke might have some if he asks her.
- Ezeulu is angered; why should he ask Akueke? Is Akueke his wife? Then he threatens her: if you want to remain here, he says, then you will do as I ask.
- Ezeulu is anxious for Akueke to return to her people. When Akueke's husband, Ibe, says he wants to take her home with him again, Ezeulu pretends to object.
- Ezeulu reminds Ibe that Akueke has been with them a year and he has been feeding her for that entire year. How does Ibe intend to pay him for all the food that Akueke and her child has consumed in the past year?
- Onwuzuligbo says he understands. They understand that they owe him, not just for this year, but for all the years Ezeulu paid for her upkeep while she was growing. Please give us time, he asks.
- Ezeulu agrees.
- Ezeulu's younger brother Okeke Onenyi is present. He speaks up, thinking his brother is giving in too quickly. He wants to know what they intend to do with Akueke. Is he just asking for her return so she will be abused again?
- Onwuzuligbo promises that Ibe will not mistreat Akueke again.
- Ezeulu sends for Akueke to find out if she is willing to return to her husband. She said she would go if Ezeulu wanted her to go. Ezeulu tells her in-laws that she will return, but not today. And he reminds them to treat her well when she does come back.
- Grateful to Ulu, Ezeulu sends his assistants out to announce the day for the Feast of the Pumpkin Leaves.
- Ugoye is cooking dinner when she hears the crier's ogene. Her daughter, Obiageli, and Akueke's daughter, Nkechi, are telling each other stories. She tells them to be quiet so she can hear what the crier is saying. She hears the announcement of the Festival of the Pumpkin Leaves.
- Nkechi and Obiageli begin to tell the story again. As they do, they fight about whose turn it is to tell this part of the story. Nwafo steps in and says that Obiageli wants to cheat Nkechi because she is bigger.
- Obiageli calls Nwafo an anti-hill nose, and he tells her she is looking to cry. Obiageli tells him to leave them alone, then sooths Nkechi.
- Obiageli sings about the water being punished by earth, and then asks who will punish the earth? But Nkechi interrupts and Nwafo says that nobody can punish the earth. Obiageli says she was testing Nkechi and Nwafo says she can't even tell a story right.
- They continue to fight until Obiageli says they'll start a new story. Obiageli tries to sneak more food but her mother takes the ladle away from her.