This section contains 2,499 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Girls at War, and Other Stories Summary & Study Guide Description
Girls at War, and Other Stories Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
Nwibeappears in The Madman
Nwibe is a pillar of his community with two wives who are forever at each other's throats. At the beginning of The Madman, approaches the ozo men of his village with a proposal that he should be admitted into their hierarchy. They tell him they must wait to see now his fortunes progress. Nwibe knows that he will follow up on his business plans.
On Eke day, Nwibe goes to collect water from a nearby stream. He removes his cloth and wades out into the water naked. A madman from the village happens upon the naked Nwibe. He begins to mock Nwibe, who once threw him from the market. The madman steals Nwibe's cloth, and Nwibe runs to pursue the madman. As he runs nude down the road, onlookers think Nwibe is mad. Nwibe follows the madman into the sacred market,where two of his friends subdue him. Nwibe's defilement of the market draws curses from others, and he is grief-stricken and refuses to speak.
Two doctors are consulted end eventually Nwibe speaks, but he lives from then on in the shadow of his supposed madness. Two years later, he returns to the ozo men who politely reject his request to join them.
Roof Okekeappears in The Voter
Rufus Okekeor Roof is one of the trusted political advisors to the Minister of Culture Marcus Ibe, a powerful lifelong politician. Roof's primary job is to approach the leaders of tribes and pay them to throw their support behind Ibe. The night before the election, however, an adviser to Ine's main opponent comes to Roof and offers him a substantial sum of money to vote against Ibe. Roof tells the adviser that Ibe is sure to win, regardless. Still the advisor prods him. After thinking for a time, Roof accepts the money and swears on an iyi to vote for Ibe's opponent. The next day, Roof goes to the voting booth and freezes. Eventually, he tears his ballot and puts one half in either box.
Nnaemekaappears in Marriage Is a Private Affair
Nnaemeka is a young man from the country who now lives in Lagos. Separated from his strict father, Nnaemeka decides to marry his beloved Nene. He knows that his father will not approve of the courtship since he did not arrange it. One day, Nnaemeka returns home and sits with his father under a tree. He tells his father that he intends to marry Nene. His father is shocked that his son wants to marry for love and declares that he will never meet his son's betrothed. For years later, the separation continues. Nnaemeka sends a wedding photo to his father, and his father sends the section with Nene back. Nene is deeply hurt by this, but Nnaemeka continues to try to change his father's mind. Eight years after their wedding, Nnaemeka and Nene have a child, and Nnaemeka sends word to his father.
Nnaemeka's Fatherappears in Marriage Is a Private Affair
Nnaemeka's father is a traditional Nigerian man who believes that marriage should be an arrangement within a tribe, and the girl should be verified by the groom's parent. One day, his son Nnaemeka returns home and sits with his father under a tree. Nnaemeka tells his father that he intends to marry a woman of his choosing in Lagos. Nnaemeka's father is scandalized, and declares that he will never meet his son's betrothed. Later, Nnaemeka's father sits with his fellow elders, who believe he should give Nnaemeka herbs to cure his madness. The father refuses, saying he will never see his son again.
For years later, Nnaemeka's father refuses to see his son. Nnaemeka sends him a wedding photo and his father sends the section with Nene back. Eight years later, Nnaemeka and Nene have a child and Nnaemeka sends word to his father. Immediately, all of the father's antipathy melts away. He lies awake that night, wondering if he can ever make up his behavior to them.
Akuekeappears in Akueke
Akueke is the young sister of six older brothers. Her father died after her birth, and Akueke becames attached to her maternal grandfather, who loves her in particular because of her resemblance to his wife. Akueke's mother died as Akueke was becoming a woman. Her brothers became concerned about her interactions with boys. They wanted her to choose a single boy to marry and stop flirting. Soon, Akueke became pregnant and took to bed sick.
As the story begins, Akueke's brothers worry that she has a belly-swelling disease. They know the house will be cursed if she dies there. They quietly take her to a tent in the woods to die. When they return later to check on her, they find that she has disappeared. They send word that Akueke is dead. Akueke is save by her grandfather, though, takes her in as his ward and forbids her brothers from contacting her.
Chikeappears in Chike's School Days
Chike is the first son born to a family of daughters. His parents raise him in a European tradition, shunning old-style Nigerian religious and cultural practices. As such, he begins to regard is fellow Osus as heathens. Chike takes well to the Christian primary school he attends, though as he grows older he detests mathematics and begin to develop a deep love for literature and words in general. He loves the shape of words and over time develops an expansive vocabulary. Words become a constant source of pleasure for him.
Julius Obiappears in The Sacrificial Egg
Julius Obi is a clerk who works near the Great Market in Umura, near the Niger River. The town is still beholden to the stories of spirits and gods that walk among men, but Julius considers himself too well educated to believe them. One day, the evil spirit Kitikpa demands a sacrifice to the soil. Until it is made, no citizen of the town is safe. Kitikpa does not kill his victims though; he marks them. That night, Julius visits his betrothed, Janet, but her mother insists that, as long as Kitikpa is in the village, he and Janet should sleep apart. Julius wanders the Umura streets awhile, unconcerned with Kitikpa. Suddenly, in the darkness he hears the dangerous night-mask marauding beginning. Knowing he could well be killed, Julius begins to run for cover. In doing this, he steps on an egg offered in sacrifice to KItipka. Julius escapes the masks, but after that day Janet and her mother bear the mark of Kitipka.
Mr. Emenikeappears in Vengeful Creditor
Mr. Emenike is a wealthy conservative politician in Nigeria. He opposes the recent government initiative to provide free primary education for all children in the country. He believes any parent who wants his child to go to school will pay the fees. Mr. Emenike is even more aggrieved when the help of his household begin leaving to attend school. When his child's nanny departs, Mr. Emenike goes to Martha's house and offers money for her daughter Veronica. He implies that after his children no longer need a nanny, he will pay for Veronica's education. It is a promise he has no intention of keeping. Mr. Emenike is initially pleased with Veronica's work, especially enjoying the songs she makes up for the children.
Mrs. Emenikeappears in Vengeful Creditor
Mrs. Emenike is the wife of a wealthy Nigerian politician. Like her husband, Mrs. Emenike opposes free primary school education for all Nigerian children. In particular, she is annoyed by the lack of cheap labor once the poor begin schooling. She is spiteful to her household servants as they leave, one by one, for school. When Veronica begins as her nanny, Mrs. Emenike is initially relieved and very pleased with the girl. One time, she sees Vero wearing red ink as lipstick and warns her that the ink is poisonous. The next day, she finds that Vero has tried to make her young son drink ink and beats her before sending her back to her mother. Martha returns with the despondent Vero and confronts Mrs. Emenika. Mrs. Emenike accuses her of raising a murderer and again laments the experiment in free education.
Veronicaappears in Vengeful Creditor
Veronica or Vero is a poor Nigerian girl who loves primary school for the one term she attends before the government runs out of money to subsidize education. Her mother Martha eventually hires her out as a nanny to the Emenikes, who imply they will send her back to school when their child not longer needs care. Vero clings to this promise for months as she takes care of the children, singing them songs about school. Mr. and Mrs. Emenike are charmed by her.
After a time, Vero becomes impatient with the young boy she is tending, convinced he is growing too slowly. Learning that ink is poisonous, Vero tries to force feel it to the little boy. Mrs. Emenike beats Vero and sends her home. Martha does not believe Vero tried to poison the child and confronts Mrs. Emenike. After Mrs. Emenike convinces Martha of Vero's guilt, Martha resolves to kill Vero. She changes her mind when she realizes that Vero's mind was twisted by her desire to learn like wealthier children.
Michael Obiappears in Dead Men's Path
Michael Obi is a young teacher who becomes headmaster of his country school and resolves to modernize it. He has his wife tend the grounds and plant lovely new hedgerows. One day, he notices villagers trampling the hedges, which were planted atop an old path connecting the burial grounds with the religious shrine. Michael blocks the path with a fence. An elder of the village comes to him and explains that the path is necessary for souls' travel. Michael balks and sends the man away. The next day, a woman dies in childbirth, and the villagers raze the hedges to appease angry souls. Michael Obi receives a scathing performance review as a result.
Uncle Benappears in Uncle Ben's Choice
Uncle Ben is a bombastic man who relates the most astonishing event of his life in Uncle Ben's Choice. When he was young, Ben was renowned for his good cheer and self-disciple. He never drank too much or made his desires known to loose women. One night, though, he returns home to find a naked woman in his bed. He assumes in the dark that it is her beloved Margaret but soon discovers that it is the goddess Mami Wota. She tries to seduce him, but her refuses. In doing this, he chooses a family over wealth and prosperity. He does not regret his choice, though supposedly the wealthiest man in Nigeria took Mami Wota up on her offer after Ben refused.
Uncle Ben is one of two characters in the collection who narrates his own story.
Jonathan Iwegbuappears in Civil Peace
Jonathan Iwegbu is a father and husband who feels blessed to have survived the war with his family and house intact. Jonathan begins a bicycle taxi service for soldiers with extra cash and makes enough money to begin a makeshift cantina. Soon thereafter, Jonathan receives twenty pounds ex-gratia from the government. He considers himself blessed many times over. That night, however, a band of thieves comes to his house and demands money. After much negotiation, Jonathan gives them is ex-gratia. The next day, neighbors commiserate with Jonathan, but he is not upset. He still has many other blessings.
Cletus appears in Sugar Baby
Cletus is a bombastic soldier in the war for Nigerian independence. Entering military life, he cannot adapt to life without sugar. One day, he secures a packet of artificial sweetener, but it is so bitter that Cletus ends up vomiting. He goes to a Father Doherty, who is supposed to be able to secure anything. When Cletus and his friend Mike go to him, Doherty goes mad at the sugar request. He attacks Cletus, shouting that people are dying in the war. One day, Mike is assigned to make a sojourn to the island of Sao Tome, where he secures a bag of sugar cubes for Cletus. Cletus invites his girlfriend Mercy to join him, and when she sees the sugar she takes a handful of it. Cletus goes mad, throwing her out and declaring that he sees her true face now.
Reginald Nwankwoappears in Girls at War
Reginald Nwankwo is a high-ranking Nigerian official who, at the beginning of Girls at War, is intercepting some food aid at an air strip to deliver to his family. He feels bad about taking food intended for war refugees, but his family must eat. As he is being driven away from the strip, Reginald notices Gladys, a woman he has crossed paths with in the past, standing by the side of the road and picks her up. Reginald offers to drive her the rest of her way, but he recommends they stop at his residence first. At one point they hear a plane fly over and worry that it is a bomber. It is not, but Gladys and Reginald huddle in his shelter and make love.
That night, Gladys and Reginald go to a party of Nigerian official, where Gladys dances and has a grand time. After a drunken incident at the party, Reginald silently wonders if Gladys is a prostitute. After some though, he decides to help her and gives her one half of the food he intercepted early that day. She cries with gratitude. The next day, Reginald and Gladys are driving down the road. It is raining, and Reginald notices a wounded soldier on a crutch. He picks him up. Immediately after he does this, a bomber flies over. Reginald, Gladys, and the soldier run, and Reginald is knocked unconscious in the bomb blast. When he comes to, his car is on fire and Gladys and the soldier are dead.
Gladys appears in Girls at War
Gladys is a beautiful young woman eager to join the war effort for Nigerian independence. She crosses paths with the high ranking official Reginald Nwankwo several times. The third time, Gladys is walking to a friend's house, and Reginald notices her standing by the side. He picks her up and offers to drive her the rest of the way. They stop by is residence first, where they hear a plane fly over. Gladys and Reginald huddle in his shelter and make love.
That night, Gladys and Reginald go to the party, where Gladys dances and has a grand time. After the party, Reginald gives her one half of the food he intercepted early that day from an air strip. She cries with gratitude. The next day, Reginald and Gladys are driving down the road. It is raining, and Reginald notices a wounded soldier on a crutch. He picks him up. Immediately after he does this, a bomber flies over. Reginald, Gladys, and the soldier run, but Gladys is killed by a bomb blast.
This section contains 2,499 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)