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Themes

In Arrow of God, differences between Africans and the British are interpreted racially by both Igbo and British characters alike. Race is associated with culture and, thus, is offered as one of the identifying characteristics of British power. Winterbottom recognizes the power inherent in moral suasion and argues forcefully that white men in Nigeria must behave a certain way in order to maintain their political superiority.

Questions About Race

  1. How does race factor in to status and social position in this novel?
  2. What do the Igbo think of the white man?
  3. What do the various white men in this novel think of the Igbo?
  4. What are the values and ideas associated with white men in this novel? What are the values and ideas associated with Igbo men in this novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although Mr. Clarke starts his career believing that there is value in "native institutions," the benign paternalism inherent in that statement surfaces later in the novel when he detains Ezeulu in order to teach him to be more cooperative with the Administration.

Even though the people of Umuaro recognize that the white man has power, it isn't until they see one of their own – Moses Unachukwu – get the better of Mr. Goodcountry that they recognize the value of literacy. It is for this reason they begin to send their children to school.

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