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Arrow of God

Arrow of God

by Chinua Achebe

Arrow of God Chapter 9 Summary

  • Edogo returns to his hut and starts working on a door he has been carving. He thinks about his first child who died, and his second child who is sick.
  • Edogo considers the way his father treats his children, and remembers how he was very affectionate and fond of Edogo, and then his affection passed from Edogo to his next son Obika, then to Oduche and now to Nwafo.
  • Actually, on second thought, Edogo realizes, his father had never seemed to think much of Oduche. His affection had stayed with Obika, then passed to Nwafo.
  • But maybe there really was something about Nwafo. People said he was the spitting image of Ezeulu's father.
  • Edogo realizes he would be relieved if the diviner's call falls on Nwafo upon Ezeulu's death. Obika certainly doesn't want to be Chief Priest, which leaves Oduche and Nwafo. Edogo suddenly wonders if his father sent Oduche to learn the religion of the white man so it would disqualify him from being the next Chief Priest. No, it wasn't up to Ezeulu, the deity chooses the next successor.
  • Ezeulu and Nwafo sit together in the same spot where Ezeulu had been sitting when Obika had walked out on him. Ezeulu tells Nwafo that a father does not lie to his son. And he reminds him that now that Obika is getting married, people will no longer ask whose son he is.
  • Akuebue arrives. He is one of the few men in Umuaro that Ezeulu respects.
  • The two men exchange greetings. Obika's whipping is mentioned but Akuebue says there is no reason to discuss it. Ezeulu sends for kolanut, and Akuebue says he isn't a stranger that needs to be greeted with such hospitality, but Ezeulu reminds him they are like brothers, all the more reason to treat him with honor.
  • They eat kolanut and take snuff (tobacco) together.
  • Edogo brings them palm wine and they drink it from a cow's horn that Akuebue brings from out of his bag.
  • Ezeulu asks Oduche when he is going to Okperi and he responds that he is going the day after tomorrow. Akuebue asks why he is going and he says that he is being tested on the holy book. Ezeulu isn't sure Oduche should go, but says he will decide when the time comes.
  • The men continue to drink and Akuebue says that the only power against palm wine is if you refuse to drink it. This reminds Ezeulu of his conversation with Nwafo and he mentions it, saying that even the greatest liar won't lie to his son. But what do you do if you tell your child the truth and the child prefers the lie? That is why, he explains, he will not take up Obika's cause against the white man.
  • Akuebue wants to know if Obika started the fight, and Edogo responds that they say he was not the one to strike the first blow. Akuebue tries again to suggest that they should find out who started it before refusing to take Obika's side, that there might be something they can do if Mr. Wright started it. But Ezeulu refuses to listen.
  • Akuebue asks Edogo where Obika is, and Ezeulu repeats the question. Edogo says he has gone because Ezeulu refused to ask for his side of the story before blaming him. Ezeulu is silenced by the unexpected criticism.
  • Akuebue tries to mollify Ezeulu by reminding Edogo that a father has more wisdom than his sons. He asks Edogo to relate his words to Obika when he returns.
  • Edogo nods but wonders if it is true that a man will never lie to his sons.
  • Akuebue then says that Ezeulu has been too hard on Obika. After this parting advice, he says goodbye and leaves.

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