Chike’s School Days

This term refers to members of the lowest social caste in the village where Chike and his family live. Traditionally, in Igbo culture, Osu people are seen as unclean and are not allowed to share space with those that are “freeborn.” The lives of Osu people are said to be in service to the deities. In the story, Amos’s marriage to Sarah, a born Osu, means that Amos and the couple’s children (including Chike) are part of this group by default, as well.

Osu Quotes in Chike’s School Days

The Chike’s School Days quotes below are all either spoken by Osu or refer to Osu. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Colonialism as a Form of Violence  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Chike’s School Days published in 1991.
Chike’s School Days Quotes

The neighbor was full of rage, but she controlled herself and only muttered under her breath that even an Osu was full of pride nowadays, thanks to the white man.

Related Characters: Chike, Sarah
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
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It was unheard of for a man to make himself Osu in that way, with his eyes wide open. But then Amos was nothing if not mad. The new religion had gone to his head. It was like palm-wine.

Related Characters: Amos, Sarah
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

The only person who supported Amos in his mad marriage venture was Mr. Brown, the white missionary, who lived in a thatch-roofed, red-earth-walled parsonage and was highly respected by the people, not because of his sermons, but because of a dispensary he ran in one of his rooms.

Related Characters: Amos, Sarah, Mr. Brown
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

A few days later he told his widowed mother, who had recently been converted to Christianity and had taken the name of Elizabeth. The shock nearly killed her. When she recovered, she went down on her knees and begged Amos not to do this thing. But he would not hear; his ears had been nailed up.

Related Characters: Amos, Sarah, Elizabeth
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Old Elizabeth performed the rites, but her son remained insane and married an Osu girl whose name was Sarah. Old Elizabeth renounced her new religion and returned to the faith of her people.

Related Characters: Amos, Sarah, Elizabeth, The Diviner
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Osu Term Timeline in Chike’s School Days

The timeline below shows where the term Osu appears in Chike’s School Days. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chike’s School Days
Colonialism as a Form of Violence  Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...replies that his family “doesn’t eat heathen food.” Offended, the neighbor scoffs that “even an Osu is full of pride these days, thanks to the white man.” (full context)
Colonialism as a Form of Violence  Theme Icon
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Indeed, Chike is an Osu, meaning he is a “slave” to his clan and is “despised and almost spat on”... (full context)
Language and the Struggle to Create Meaning Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
When Amos’s mother, Elizabeth, heard about her son’s plan to marry an Osu, she refused to go down without a fight. Although she herself had already converted to... (full context)