Arrow of God
by Chinua Achebe
Arrow of God Theme of Religion
Arrow of God explores how Igbo spirituality and religious life dies an ignominious death when confronted by Christianity. Christianity is backed by the white man's military and political power. As a result, Christianity is also identified with the source of their power. When the people of Umuaro are faced with famine because the chief priest of Ulu refuses to break tradition, the catechist at the church offers protection so the people can harvest their yams. When Ezeulu's son Obika dies, the people interpret that as a sign that Ulu was punishing his priest. With Ezeulu's power broken, Umuaro turns to the Christian god for help.
Questions About Religion
- What effect does Christianity have on the people of Umuaro? Why? Speculate about what Christianity's effect will be in the future.
- What is the difference between religion in Western culture and religion in Igbo culture? Is it fair to say, that according to Arrow of God, that Igbos do not separate religion from cultural and social life? Why or why not?
- Name at least three Igbo religious beliefs or rituals that were explored in this book. How do those beliefs relate to Igbo daily life?
- Name at least three Christian beliefs or rituals that were explored in this book. How do those beliefs relate to Igbo daily life?
Chew on This
Although the people of Umuaro turn away from Ulu towards Christianity, they are turning their backs only out of desperation.
Although Mr. Goodcountry says he's offering the people of Umuaro protection against Ulu's wrath, he is taking advantage of the opportunity to enrich his church through the people's suffering.