Binti

by

Nnedi Okorafor

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The Chief Character Analysis

The chief of the Meduse, like all Meduse people, is rational, honorable, and has no issue being violent if that violence is undertaken for an honorable reason. Some time before the novella begins, researchers at Oomza University attacked the chief and stole its stinger to use for weapons research. Because of this, the chief hates human beings and believes that they only understand violence and force. Despite this, Okwu is able to convince the chief to hear Binti out, and the chief shows itself capable of change when it agrees to allow Binti to advocate for the Meduse—though the chief also insists that Binti make herself totally vulnerable to the Meduse so she doesn’t look like a prisoner. The chief’s experience negotiating with Oomza University fundamentally changes how it sees humanity. It begins to look far more favorably on human beings and even makes sure to tell Binti that the Meduse will forever honor her. Though the chief glows blue for most of the story, it becomes clear and translucent once its stinger reattaches.

The Chief Quotes in Binti

The Binti quotes below are all either spoken by The Chief or refer to The Chief. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Tom Doherty edition of Binti published in 2015.
Binti Quotes

“There is a reason why our people do not go to that university. Oomza Uni wants you for its own gain, Binti. You go to that school and you become its slave.” I couldn’t help but contemplate the possible truth in her words. I hadn’t even gotten there yet and already I’d given them my life.

Related Characters: Binti’s Mother (speaker), Binti (speaker), The Chief
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

“In your university, in one of its museums, placed on display like a piece of rare meat is the stinger of our chief,” it said. I wrinkled my face, but said nothing. “Our chief is...” it paused. “We know of the attack and mutilation of our chief, but we do not know how it got there. We do not care. We will land on Oomza Uni and take it back.”

Related Characters: Okwu (speaker), Binti, The Chief
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

Spongy. As if it were full of the firm jelly beads in the milky pudding my mother liked to make. I could sense current all around me. These people had deep active technology built into the walls and many of them had it running within their very bodies. Some of them were walking astrolabes, it was part of their biology.

Related Characters: Binti (speaker), Okwu, The Chief, Binti’s Mother
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

Several of the human professors looked at each other and chuckled. One of the large insectile people clicked its mandibles. I frowned, flaring my nostrils. It was the first time I’d received treatment similar to the way my people were treated on Earth by the Khoush. In a way, this set me at ease. People were people, everywhere. These professors were just like anyone else.

Related Characters: Binti (speaker), Haras, The Chief, Okwu
Related Symbols: Otjize
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

“You’ve never seen the Meduse, either. Only studied them...from afar. I know. I have read about them too.” I stepped forward. “Or maybe some of you or your students have studied the stinger you have in the weapons museum up close.”

Related Characters: Binti (speaker), The Chief, Okwu, Haras
Page Number: 75-76
Explanation and Analysis:

The spiderlike Haras raised two front legs and spoke in the language of the Meduse and said, “On behalf of all the people of Oomza Uni and on behalf of Oomza University, I apologize for the actions of a group of our own in taking the stinger from you, Chief Meduse. The scholars who did this will be found, expelled, and exiled. Museum specimen of such prestige are highly prized at our university, however such things must only be acquired with permission from the people to whom they belong. [...] We will return it to you immediately.”

Related Characters: The Chief, Binti, Okwu
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

I’ll never forget the way the chief’s body went from blue to clear the moment the stinger became a part of it again. Only a blue line remained at the point of demarcation where it had reattached—a scar that would always remind it of what human beings of Oomza Uni had done to it for the sake of research and academics.

Related Characters: Binti (speaker), The Chief
Related Symbols: Okuoko, Otjize
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:
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Binti PDF

The Chief Character Timeline in Binti

The timeline below shows where the character The Chief appears in Binti. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Binti
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Community, Friendship, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...the otjize to the Meduse because it’s part of her culture. Okwu says that its chief knows about the Himba and knows Binti must have more with her, but Binti snaps... (full context)
Science, Humanity, and the Ethics of Research Theme Icon
Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...They only kill for purpose. Binti is confused, but Okwu elaborates: it says that their chief’s stinger is displayed in one of the Oomza Uni museums. The Meduse know, of course,... (full context)
Science, Humanity, and the Ethics of Research Theme Icon
...honor having taught humans a lesson. Suddenly, Binti shrieks. She asks to talk to the chief and explains that she’s a master harmonizer. She can create harmony anywhere and wants to... (full context)
Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...surface. Okwu leads Binti into an enormous room that feels almost like the outdoors. The chief, surrounded by other Meduse, looks just like the others; Okwu has to stand next to... (full context)
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Binti knows she should be terrified. The chief hates humans, so both she and Okwu are risking their lives. But the ground feels... (full context)
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Community, Friendship, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...hear that the floor is humming to itself and she sits up. Binti tells the chief that the Himba create and build astrolabes using math to create their currents. Suddenly, Binti... (full context)
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Community, Friendship, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...to the Meduse. Terrified, Binti shrieks that the edan is how they can communicate. The chief throws up a tentacle, and everything stops. Binti looks from the Meduse behind her, to... (full context)
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Binti follows Okwu and the chief through the ship. She sees all the Meduse in the dining room. Fortunately, there are... (full context)
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Community, Friendship, and Belonging Theme Icon
Outside the ship, human soldiers meet them. The chief growls for Binti to go first and Okwu softly tells Binti to look strong. Her... (full context)
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Community, Friendship, and Belonging Theme Icon
Binti is certain that the professors will agree to her proposal. The Meduse chief speaks angrily but eloquently and says that they have the right to take back the... (full context)
Science, Humanity, and the Ethics of Research Theme Icon
Fear and Prejudice vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...as a symbolic renewal of the pacts between humans and the Meduse. Okwu rumbles. The chief says that it’s learning something “outside of core beliefs” for the first time. It had... (full context)
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Community, Friendship, and Belonging Theme Icon
...says that it was the only way to allow Binti to understand them, while the chief says that it was the only way to make it clear that Binti is their... (full context)
Identity, Home, and Travel Theme Icon
Science, Humanity, and the Ethics of Research Theme Icon
...the libraries in Weapons City, Binti and Okwu stare at the empty place where the chief’s stinger used to be. The city is a three-hour journey from Math City and is... (full context)