Superstition is one of the main themes of the story. In traditional African life, superstition has a significant influence on what people believe and how they live their lives. Amadi highlights the damaging effect that superstition can have on people's lives, especially their health. When an outbreak of smallpox descends upon the village of Amokachi, people are so frightened of the disease that they dare not even call it by its name. Instead, they refer to it as "the good thing."
Because the villagers are not prepared to face the reality of smallpox, they retreat into a fantasy world in which time-honored superstitions and rituals will protect them from the disease. Unfortunately, refraining from mourning those struck down by the disease, refraining from consulting oracles, and refraining from making sacrifices does not make any difference; it simply brings more physical and spiritual harm to the villagers of Amokachi.