Arrow of God
by Chinua Achebe
Arrow of God Respect and Reputation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Tony Clarke was dressed for dinner, although he still had more than an hour to go. Dressing for dinner was very irksome in the heat, but he had been told by man experienced coasters that it as quiet imperative. They said it was a general tonic which one must take if one was to survive in this demoralizing country. For to neglect it could become the first step on the slippery gradient of ever profounder repudiations. Today was quiet pleasant because the rain had brought some coolness. But there had been days when Tony Clarke had foregone a proper dinner to avoid the torment of a starched shirt and tie. (3.17)
In the climate of southern Africa, it is easy for Europeans to lose their respectability. This is why all colonial officials are reminded time and again to maintain standards – even if it's a misery to behave like the upper class do in cool, wet England. The colonial project is dependent on its officials behaving in a proper manner. Though it might not seem obvious that wearing a properly starched tie and shirt to dinner is important, it keeps standards high, so that one doesn't slip into other, more morally gray habits.
Oduche who had thus far inclined towards Unachukwu's position had a sudden stab of insight. He raised his hand and was about to put it down again. But Mr. Goodcountry had seen him.
"It is not true that the Bible does not ask us to kill the serpent. Did not God tell Adam to crush its head after it had deceived his wife?" Many people clapped for him.
"Do you hear that, Moses?"
Moses made to answer, but Mr. Goodcountry was not going to give him another opportunity.
"You say you are the first Christian in Umuaro, you partake of the Holy Meal; and yet whenever you open your mouth nothing but heathen filth pours out. Today a child who sucks his mother's breast has taught you the Scriptures. It is not as Our Lord himself said that the first shall become last and the last become first. The world will pass away but not one single world of Our Lord will be set aside." He turned to Oduche. "When the time comes for your baptism you will be called Peter; on this rock will I build my Church." (4.77-82)
Oduche, Ezeulu's son, gains respect and reputation in the Christian church at the expense of one of his elders in Umuaro. He challenges Unachukwu's interpretation of the Bible and, by default, takes the side of Christianity and Western culture over his own people's traditions and his father's religion.
But as he [Clarke] turned to go he [Winterbottom] called him back.
"When you are in Umuaro find out as much as you can – very discreetly of course – about Wright and his new road. I've heard all kinds of ugly stories of whippings and that kind of business. Without prejudging the issue I may say that I wouldn't put anything past Wright, from sleeping with native women to birching their men…" (5.8-9).
Winterbottom has already had cause to chide Wright for his behavior; Wright's diminished reputation allows Winterbottom to believe any and all reports about his behavior.