Social Conflicts in Arrow Of God: Lessons in Flexibility and Good Governance

Anaso George Nworah, Nwabudike Christopher Eziafa


Chinua Achebe’s second novel, Arrow of God, is concerned with the theme of conflict. According to Holman C. Hugh (1960), there are four basic levels of conflict: struggle between the protagonist and the antagonist, the protagonist with the society, struggle in the mind of the protagonist or the protagonist struggling with fate, destiny or force of nature. Conflicts in Arrow of God delineate three of these struggles in a concentration of events leading to the destruction of the social order in the community (Umuaro). However, the conflicts are linked with colonialism which is at the root of the conflict. In this view, the novel is to some extent, a protest against colonialism and the suffering that it brought to the colonised people generally and the Igbo specifically. Arising from the above, this paper draws some implications from the actions of the protagonist to reveal the connection between a leader’s flexibility and good governance as reflected in the life of the old chief priest (Ezeulu). The novel made its debut in 1964, symbolically marking a year since Nigeria’s adoption of Republican Constitution. The connection between Umuaro’s institution of Ulu and its priest as source of law and order with Nigeria’s adoption of the republican constitution is made obvious in this study. Through this, the nexus between literature and reality is thus reinforced.

Keywords: Colonialism, Conflict, Myth, Protest, Governance, Republicanism

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