Arrow of God
How we cite our quotes:
"I am sent by Ezidemili."
"True? I trust he is well."
"He is well," replied the messenger. "But at the same time he is not."
"I do not understand you." Ezeulu was now very alert. "If you have a message, deliver it because I have no time to listen to a boy learning to speak in riddles."
The young man ignored the insult. "Ezidemili wants to know what you are going to do about the abomination which has been committed in your house."
"That what happened?" asked the Chief Priest, holding his rage firmly with two hands.
"Should I repeat what I have just said?"
"All right. Ezidemili wants to know how you intend to purify your house of the abomination that your son committed." "Go back and tell Ezidemili to eat shit. Do you hear me? Tell Ezidemili that Ezeulu says he should go and fill his mouth with shit. As for you, young man, you may go in peace because the world is no longer what it as. If the world had been what it was I would have given you something to remind you always of the day you put your head into the mouth of a leopard." (4.108-117)
A new religion has entered the scene, and Ezeulu has sent his son to find out the source of its power. In so doing, Ezeulu has inadvertently set himself up to engage in a power struggle with Ezidemili. He doesn't do well with this challenge to his supreme position as high priest of Ulu. But even as he sends a challenge back to Ezidemili, Ezeulu admits that things have changed – some of his power is lost.
When the discussion began again someone suggested that they should go to the elders of Umuaro and tell them that they could no longer work on the white man's road. But as speaker after speaker revealed the implications of such a step it lost all support. Moses told them the white man would reply by taking all their leaders to prison at Okperi. (8.69)
Though the men want to take revenge against Wright for whipping Obika without cause, they ultimately conclude that they lack the power to do anything about it. The white man's power is greater. Their attempts to punish the white man for what he has done to Obika will be futile and they will only end up punishing themselves.
"Yes, we are talking about the white man's road. But when the roof and walls of a house fall in, the ceiling is not left standing. The white man, the new religion, the soldiers, the new road – they are all part of the same thing. The white man has a gun, a machete, a bow and carries fire in his mouth. He does not fight with one weapon alone." (8.73)
The white man's power lays in many things – religion, military might, government, weapons. This is why he has been able to take over the region, and why the men of Umuaro feel like children who lack the power to stand up to their parent.