Study Guide

Arrow of God Competition

By Chinua Achebe

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Arrow of God revolves around competition. We see competition between Ezeulu's wives for his attention; between Ezeulu, the chief priest of Ulu, and Ezidemili, the chief priest of the lesser deity Idemili; between the communities of Umuaro and Okperi; and between Ezeulu's village and Ezidemili's village. But the most important competition is between the god Ulu and the Christian god. This fight is always in the background, and we realize that Arrow of God is an illustration of the saying "When two brothers fight, a stranger reaps the harvest." As the region roils in division, Christianity quietly steps in and takes the respect and place of honor that had previously belonged to the god Ulu.

Questions About Competition

  1. What is the nature of the dispute between Ezeulu and Nwaka? Ezeulu and Ezidemili? Ezeulu and Umuaro? Ezeulu and the white colonists?
  2. What areas of Igbo life demonstrate the fundamental virtue of competition?
  3. Is the prominence of competition a destructive force? Why or why not?
  4. Do you agree with the saying "When two brothers fight, a stranger reaps their harvest"? What do you think that this expression means in the context of Arrow of God?

Chew on This

Even though the people of Umuaro dislike the imposition of white rule and religion, they allow it to have control because of the discord that rules their lives.

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