Arrow of God
by Chinua Achebe
Arrow of God Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"There is no cause to be afraid, my son. You have seen Eru, the Magnificent, the One that gives wealth to those who find favour with him. People sometimes see him at that place in this kind of weather. Perhaps he was returning home from a visit to Idemili or the other deities. Eru only harms those who swear falsely before his shrine." Ezeulu was carried away by his praise of the god of wealth. The way he spoke one would have thought that he was the proud priest of Eru rather than Ulu who stood above Eru and all the other deities. "When he likes a man wealth flows like a river into his house; his yams grow as big as human beings, his goats produce threes and his hens hatch nines." (1.85)
Part of the measure of manhood is the wealth of your household. Though a portion of that may be bought from the sweat of your own back, part of it is destiny and can't be controlled. It depends on whether the gods like you and bless the work of your hands. The fact that Obika has seen this man "revives" Ezeulu's confidence in him (1.76) because it indicates that he will be a man of measure and wealth.
Obika was one of the handsomest young men in Umuaro and all the surrounding districts. His face was very finely cut and his nose stood gem, like the note of a gong. His skin was, like his father's, the colour of terracotta. People said of him (as they always did when they saw great comeliness) that he was not born for these parts among the Igbo people of the forests; that in his previous life he must have sojourned among the riverain folk whom the Igbo called Olu.
But two things spoilt Obika. He drank palm wine to excess, and he was given to sudden and fiery anger. (1.100-101).
Obika might have been the perfect vision of Igbo manliness if he didn't drink so much, and if he wasn't so hasty and quick to anger.
"We cannot say your son did wrong to fight for his sister. What we do not understand, however, is why a man with a penis between his legs should be carried away from his house and village. It is as if to say: You are nothing and your kinsmen can do nothing. This is the part we do not understand." (1.115)
When Obika's half-sister comes home after her husband has beaten her, Obika takes his revenge on his brother-in-law, Ibe. Obika beats Ibe almost to the point of death, leaving him tied up in Ezeulu's compound. The in-laws that return for Ibe say they understand Obika's need to protect his sister. They counter, though, that you don't take a man away from his family. When you do it, you are insulting not only his manliness, but also the manliness of his in-laws.