Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe: A Masterpiece of African Literature
Arrow of God is the second novel in Chinua Achebe's acclaimed African Trilogy, following Things Fall Apart and preceding No Longer at Ease. It tells the story of Ezeulu, the chief priest of the god Ulu, who rules over the six villages of Umuaro in colonial Nigeria. Ezeulu faces a crisis of faith and power as he struggles to maintain his authority and tradition in the face of British colonialism and Christian missionaries.
In this article, we will explore the themes, characters, and style of Arrow of God, and why it is considered one of the most important works of African literature. We will also provide a link to download a free PDF copy of the novel for your convenience.
Themes of Arrow of God
One of the main themes of Arrow of God is the clash of cultures and religions between the Igbo people and the British colonizers. Achebe portrays the complexity and diversity of Igbo culture, as well as its resilience and adaptability in the face of change. He also shows the negative effects of colonialism on both sides, such as violence, corruption, oppression, and loss of identity.
Another theme is the nature and responsibility of leadership. Ezeulu is a proud and stubborn leader who believes he is the arrow of his god, Ulu. He tries to balance his duty to his people and his god with his personal ambition and pride. However, he also makes mistakes and miscalculations that lead to his downfall and the destruction of his community. Achebe explores the moral dilemmas and challenges that leaders face in times of crisis and transition.
A third theme is the role of women in Igbo society. Achebe depicts the different roles and statuses of women in Igbo culture, such as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, traders, farmers, and priestesses. He also shows how women are affected by colonialism and Christianity, which often undermine their autonomy and dignity. Achebe also highlights the strength and wisdom of some female characters, such as Nwakaego, Ezeulu's daughter, who defies her father's wishes and marries a Christian convert.
Characters of Arrow of God
The main character of Arrow of God is Ezeulu, the chief priest of Ulu. He is a respected and feared leader who has a close relationship with his god. He is also a complex and flawed character who makes decisions that have tragic consequences for himself and his people. He is often in conflict with other leaders, such as Nwaka, a wealthy farmer who challenges his authority; Ezidemili, a rival priest who accuses him of sacrilege; and Winterbottom, a British district officer who tries to manipulate him.
Other important characters include Obika and Edogo, Ezeulu's sons who have different personalities and destinies; Oduche, Ezeulu's youngest son who converts to Christianity and attempts to kill a sacred python; Nwakaego, Ezeulu's daughter who marries Oduche's friend; Akuebue, a wise elder who advises Ezeulu; Clarke, a young British officer who replaces Winterbottom; John Goodcountry, a Christian missionary who converts Oduche; and Captain T.K. Whitehead, a British soldier who kills Obika.
Style of Arrow of God
Achebe's style in Arrow of God is characterized by his use of Igbo proverbs, idioms, folklore, and rituals to enrich his narration and dialogue. He also uses English words that reflect Igbo speech patterns and expressions. He blends realism and symbolism to create a vivid picture of Igbo life and culture. He also uses multiple perspectives and flashbacks to provide insight into the motivations and backgrounds of his characters.
Achebe's style also reflects his purpose as a writer: to reclaim African history and culture from the colonial discourse that distorted and devalued them. He challenges the stereotypes and prejudices that portrayed Africans as savage, backward, or inferior. He celebrates the beauty and complexity of African culture while also acknowledging its flaws and contradictions. He also critiques the colonial system that exploited and oppressed Africans while also showing its human side.
Download Arrow of God PDF
If you are interested in reading Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe, you can download a free PDF copy aa16f39245