Arrow of God
by Chinua Achebe
Analysis: Writing Style
Arrow of God is not a quick read. Dialogue is rich with Igbo idioms, such as "a man who brings home ant-infested faggots should not complain if he is visited by lizards" (6.6) and references to Igbo culture and language that are explained only through the context of the story, such as "it is very costly – the gourd may be ego-nese – but I shall pay. If you two drink three hornfuls each and still go home let it be my loss. But if not you must give me ego-neli whenever you come to your senses again" (8.20).
Reading carefully, it's clear that ego-nese and ego-neli are references to cost, value, or amount. But to get all the layers of the story, it is necessary to read carefully to understand context and to interpret the meaning of each idiom.