Obi remembers how his mother cut herself on his razor while washing his clothes. Obi had used the razor to sharpen his pencils for school. The pencils, newly introduced to Igbo culture with the advent of churches and schools, symbolize the intrusion of western ideals and ways of life into rural Igbo villages. This symbolically foreshadows the way that Obi later wounds his mother by utterly abandoning the traditions and culture of the Igbo, and embracing instead western values and principles. Obi's abandonment of his native culture seems inevitable given the fact that Obi left home to be educated in Europe and returns to occupy a European civil servant post in a westernized part of Lagos.