What were the author's intentions in writing Arrow of God, and what is a summary of the novel?

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In Arrow of God, Chinua Achebe explores the gulf of communication between British colonizers and West Africans, as well as chronicling the disintegration of the Igbo culture as the British forces take control over life in Nigeria. The main character, Ezeulu, is a priest for the Igbo who is befriended by powerful members of the British colonial force—in particular, Captain T. K. Winterbottom, who eventually will offer a kind of symbolic rule over his people to Ezeulu. In the end, tragedy undermines Ezeulu's position in his tribe, as he stubbornly refuses to signal the start to the yam harvest, which in turn causes famine. Ezeulu's son Obika dies suddenly while in the midst of a ritual, and the people interpret this as a sign that Ezuelu has lost favor with the god he serves, Ulu. The famine caused by Ezeulu's stubbornness combined with Ulu's abandonment of their priest leads the people to turn to Christianity and the British for salvation, thus providing a dramatic ending to the novel.

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The author's purpose for writing this book is to discuss the effect of colonialism on the people of West Africa. The imperial  authority that the colonial British government imposes on the indigenous people disrupts the natural balance between the various groups in the country.     

"Colonialism is seen as a complex web that prevents even the best people from acting for the common good. Chapters in which the British officials confer with one another reveal that while they are not the worst of their type, racism and ignorant condescension more or less come with the territory."

 

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