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Analysis

Literary Devices in Arrow of God

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The python symbolizes the old gods in the conflict between Christianity and Umuaro's religion. The python is the religious icon that the catechist seizes upon and urges local Christians to kill. Ma...

Setting

Arrow of God is set in 1920s Nigeria, after the pacification period and long before independence. During these the decades many Nigerians began turning away from their traditional religions, becomi...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator has the god-like ability to see into the minds of every character in the book. It jumps from one person's head to another's, often within the same chapter. The story is primarily about...

Genre

Like the other two novels in Chinua Achebe's trilogy, Arrow of God is a classic tragedy. The heroes in Things Fall Apart and No Longer At Ease both had the same fatal flaw that Ezeulu has, that of...

Tone

In contrast to the darkness of the tale Achebe relates, the tone of the novel is light-hearted, even jovial, sometimes poking fun of the characters themselves, such as in this short passage:"He is...

Writing Style

Arrow of God is not a quick read. Dialogue is rich with Igbo idioms, such as "a man who brings home ant-infested faggots should not complain if he is visited by lizards" (6.6) and references to Igb...

What's Up With the Title?

The "arrow of God" is a reference to the role Ezeulu plays in this novel. As Chief Priest of the deity Ulu, Ezeulu is in the enviable or unenviable position of being Ulu's messenger, his "arrow." A...

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...

Tough-o-Meter

Arrow of God plops readers right down into the middle of rural Igbo life in the 1930s without any reference point. Even more than Things Fall Apart, Achebe's third novel immerses the readers into I...

Plot Analysis

The colonial administration enters Umuaro. After Umuaro provokes a war with Okperi, the British colonial administration steps in to stop the fighting. They rule in favor of Okperi, based in part be...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

Nwaka challenges Ulu. The people of Umuaro take Nwaka's advice and go to war with Okperi, despite the fact that the Chief Priest of Ulu, Ezeulu, advises them not to do it. He says that Ulu will not...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Umuaro goes to war with Okperi over land. Captain Winterbottom steps in and rules in favor of Okperi. Umuaro loses all its guns and the land. Because Ezeulu cooperates with Winterbottom, Umuaro bla...

Trivia

The yam, a staple food in West Africa, is not the same thing as the sweet potato. They are not even closely related to each other. Although the terms are often use the terms interchangeably in the...

Steaminess Rating

Though there's no sex in the novel, there are lots of dirty jokes. Men see fathering children as important to their manhood. Women are supposed to be virgins when they marry. The competition we obs...

Allusions

Norman and Saxon battles (3.18)Battle of Crecy (3.18)Battle of Poitiers (3.18)Oliver Cromwell (3.18)Sir Francis Drake (3.18)Sir Martin Frobisher (3.18)Horatio Nelson (3.18)Sir Robert Clive (3.18)Mu...
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