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Arrow of God

Arrow of God

by Chinua Achebe

Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?

Arrow of God closes by suggesting that Christianity will triumph over the traditional religion of Umuaro. The people themselves don't yet recognize that by humiliating his priest, their god Ulu has self-destructed. Ultimately, the death of Umuaro's god also means the death of Umuaro's way of life; the time will come when the people will see what embracing Christianity has done to their culture. The narrator states this directly in the concluding chapter of the novel. After indicating that the people saw Obika's death as a judgment against Ulu's priest, the narrator tells us:

Ulu had chosen a dangerous time to uphold that truth for in destroying his priest he had also brought disaster on himself…For a deity who chose a moment such as this to chastise his priest or abandon him before his enemies was inciting people to take liberties. (19.89)

We can also see that the narrator intends the reader to understand that Ulu's humiliation of Ezeulu will result in his (Ulu's) own death by the placement of this novel in the Things Fall Apart trilogy. Though its chronological time period is earlier than that of the second novel in the trilogy, No Longer At Ease, this novel is the third and final one. If you read the trilogy in order, you will already have observed in No Longer at Ease that, by the 1950s, Christianity has triumphed over the traditional system of gods. Though some traditions run deep, Nigeria has become Christianized (though not Westernized).

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