Arrow of God - Paper

7783 Words32 Pages
Afrika Focus, Vol. 5, Nr. 3-4, 1989, pp. 153-165

Owen G. MORDAUNT English Department University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaga, Nebraska 68182-0175 USA

SUMMARY Mordaunt describes how the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe deals with the problem ofpersonal conflict in his novel "Arrow of God". The main character in this novel is Ezeulu, who is chiefpriest of the god Ulu, of the village of Umuaro. Ezeulu comes into conflict with himself in a quest to hold on to power despite his high age and the break-through of the British colonial administrators. Ezeulu wants to control both his people and the British administrators. Ezeulu believes the clan will silently follow him and the British will
…show more content…
Such a feeling is not unnatural; many people think about future incapacitations, but this scene establishes the tone for the novel and unveils Ezeulu's internal conflict. The allusion here is that this impending blindness is a threat, for it will interfere with his ordering of religious festivals, and will even mean that his tribal influence will cease to be felt among his people if he fails to observe the progression of the moon. If his religious responsibility will be challenged, his political responsibility will be in danger. He endeavors to console himself by imagining that he is as fit "as any young man, or better because young men were no longer what they used to be" (1). This gesture is indicative of his desire to maintain a perpetual authority over his tribe; he realizes that old age is beginning to tell him, but this he repudiates. In spite of all the tremendous power in his hands, he knows he depends on the supernatural forces whose ways nobody can understand; this perception renders him somewhat helpless. Even the choice of his successor is in the power of Ulu; therefore, his dependence on the deity is a threat to his authority. Ezeulu's authority can be asserted only when co-operation with the supernatural powers is established. Any thought which seeks to undermine his authority has grave psychological implications. Throughout the novel, we see him writing in anguish over his authority, haunted by fear that his
Get Access