In the Shadow of War

by Ben Okri

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What is the rising action in "In the Shadow of War"?

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The rising action is everything that occurs after the introduction (or exposition) of a story and before its climax. In "In the Shadow of War," the climax occurs at the point the soldiers kill the disfigured woman and Omovo runs through the forest screaming.

Before this time, the rising action begins as Omovo's father leaves the house, telling him to beware of the coming eclipse and turning off the radio, as news of war isn't for children. Omovo watches the woman with the veil, listens to the radio in defiance of his father, and goes outside, where soldiers offer him money to report to them on the veiled woman, telling him she is a spy.

Omovo refuses the money, but after a nap (and perhaps still in a dream state) he follows the woman. He watches as she enters a cave and leaves her basket, presumably filled with food, for the hungry people hiding there. A little later she is stopped by the soldiers. They call her a "witch" and demand she tell them where the "others" are. She refuses to answer. As the story approaches the climax, the soldiers tear off her veil, exposing her bald, scarred head and the gash on the side of her face, building even more suspense just before the story's climax.

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