Study Guide

Arrow of God Introduction

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Arrow of God Introduction

Published in 1964, Arrow of God is the third novel in Chinua Achebe's trilogy that explores Nigeria's history through fiction. The first novel, Things Fall Apart, details the period leading up to "pacification," the moment when British colonizers violently took control of southern Nigeria. The second novel, No Longer At Ease, is set at the brink of Nigeria's independence, some 60+ years later. This second novel vividly demonstrates the moral destruction colonialism wreaked on Igbo society and culture. Arrow of God is set in the period between pacification and independence. The novel pits one man, the chief priest of the deity Ulu, against colonial administrators, Christian missionaries, and, ultimately, his own people.

What is Arrow of God About and Why Should I Care?

We admit it. For a long time, whenever we heard about Africa, we started humming this song. Yep, that's what came into our heads. Of course, we were young then. And ignorant. And we had really, really big hair.

Lucky for us, folks like Chinua Achebe change all that. This guy made it his life’s work to show the rest of the world how an all-too-forgotten part of the world lived, laughed, and loved. Setting his works in his native Nigeria, Achebe was one of the first English-language writers to call attention to the richness and complexities of African culture and its people.

In Arrow of God, we get the other side of the story—a missing perspective that clues us in to how the native Africans responded to the presence of white, European, Christian colonizers. Before Achebe, popular fiction tended to portrayed Africans—if it portrayed them at all—as an amorphous group of people that served as background for the stories of white protagonists. But Achebe gave us our Silent Bob moment. That's right—there's more to Silent Bob, and Africa, than we were ever taught in school. 

Arrow of God Resources


Notes on Arrow of God
From Western Michigan University

Igbo Guide
A website about the Igbo people

Igbo Net
A website about the Igbo diaspora

Igbo People
Igbo history and origins

Time Magazine
Book review of Arrow of God

Historical Documents

Voice of the Shuttle
British colonial documents regarding Africa and India

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