Arrow of God
by Chinua Achebe
Ezeulu Timeline and Summary
- Ezeulu urges the men of Umuaro not to go to war with Okperi. He says Ulu will not support a war of blame. When the men send a young angry man as their messenger, he argues that they are sending him with both fire and water in his mouth.
- When Captain Winterbottom steps in and stops the war, Ezeulu is the only man in all of Umuaro and Okperi who tells the truth. The people of Umuaro resent him for this, and blame him for the problems with the white man.
- Ezeulu discovers that Oduche has committed an abomination – he has imprisoned the royal python in his box. Angry, he shouts that Oduche shouldn't come home for awhile if he knows what's best. But he's also angry when Ezidemili sends him a message, asking what he intends to do to purify the house. He tells Ezidemili to forget about it, and tells himself that he will cleanse Oduche when he cleanses the entire region at the Festival of the New Pumpkin Leaves.
- Ezeulu arranges for his daughter to return to her husband, after the husband promises that the girl, Akueke, will no longer be beaten.
- Ezeulu performs the ritual for the New Pumpkin Leaves.
- When Mr. Wright whips Obika, Ezeulu doesn't wait to hear Obika's side of the story. He just assumes that Obika has done something to deserve it. It creates another rift between Ezeulu and his sons.
- Akuebue tells Ezeulu that he is too hard on his kids and he should soften up.
- Captain Winterbottom's messengers arrive to tell Ezeulu that Captain Winterbottom requires him to travel to Okperi to meet with him. Ezeulu tells them that if Captain Winterbottom wants to see him, he can travel to Umuaro to visit Ezeulu in his obi. The men go away, angry.
- Ezeulu consults the elders to find out what they think he should do. Nwaka speaks for them, telling Ezeulu that he made his bed, now he must lie in it. He became friends with Winterbottom; why is he surprised hat now Winterbottom wants to see him? As to the custom of the chief priest of Umuaro not traveling away from his obi, Ezeulu did it when they went to war with Okperi. What is preventing him from doing it now?
- Ezeulu is angry but he masks it. He tells the men of Umuaro that he will go to the colonial station in Okperi the next day.
- In Okperi, the station's servants have been ordered to detain Ezeulu. But they are afraid of his powerful medicine (didn't Winterbottom fall sick after he made an order to arrest Ezeulu?) so they try to make it seem like Ezeulu is an honored guest in the guardroom.
- Ezeulu has a dream. In the dream, Nwaka is telling the people of Umuaro that the no longer need Ezeulu. They can see the seasons just as easily as Ezeulu, and no longer believe that Ezeulu has the power to drive the white man away. Therefore, they should drive Ezeulu away and get rid of Ulu.
- Ezeulu wakes up and realizes that his battle is with his own people, not with the white man.
- Akuebue visits to make sure Ezeulu is OK, especially when he learned that a man from Nwaka's village – John Nwodika – was cooking his meals. He's worried that Ezeulu will be poisoned. But Ezeulu introduces him to Nwodika to take his worries away.
- Clarke offers Ezeulu the position of warrant chief and Ezeulu refuses. Clarke claps him in jail until he learns to cooperate with the administration.
- Ezeulu's anger against his people smolders. He hopes the administration keeps him for a long time, so he can really punish his own people.
- Finally Ezeulu is allowed to return home. He plans his revenge quietly. But when the time has come to announce the Feast of the New Yam, Ezeulu fails to do it.
- His assistants and his elders plead with Ezeulu, but he says he can't announce it until he has eaten all the sacred yams. There are still three sacred yams to eat. The people can't harvest their crops until Ezeulu has announced that it is time for the Feast, and so famine slowly enters the region.
- Ezeulu's family suffers as much as anybody else's. The people believe he's gloating, but he's suffering, too.
- Ezeulu's son Obika dies suddenly. Ezeulu believes Ulu is punishing him, has struck him when he's down. He begins to go a little crazy.
- He lives his final days as the demented high priest.