Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 340
The two women herbalists, Iya Agba and Iya Mate, are closely connected with the earth. At first they are pleased that Si Bero has learned well from them, but they are suspicious of her brother, Dr. Bero.
IYA MATE: You sense something wrong in him?
IYA AFBA: It’s my life that’s gone into his. I haven’t burrowed so deep to cast good earth onto worthless seeds…. She proved herself. If she’d wanted it easy or simply out of greed, I would have guided her feet into quicksand and left her there.
When Bero arrives home, he converses with his sister about his activities during the war. She is surprised that he set aside his medical vocation to do intelligence work. He assures her that he will return to the “real work” of his “practice,” saying,
Yes, I intend to maintain that side of my practice. A laboratory is important. Everything helps. Control, sister, control. Power comes from bending Nature to your will.
After the Priest speaks with their father, he reports to Bero how disturbed he is to learn that the Old Man wants to see cannibalism legalized. His justification was that to not eat human flesh was wasteful.
You won’t believe it but he actually said to me, I’m going to try and persuade those fools not to waste all that meat. Mind you, he could never stand wastage, could he? …. But human flesh, why, that’s another matter altogether.
Bero shocks him even further by claiming the he has eaten human flesh, finding testicles especially “delicious.” After the Priest flees, he continues telling his sister about his experience, including their father’s involvement in what she terms an “abomination.” Bero rationalizes his action:
What is one flesh from another? So I tried it again, just to be sure of myself. It was the first step to power, you understand. Power in its purest sense. The end of inhibitions. The conquest of weakness of your too too human flesh with all its sentiment.
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