Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun

Richard Churchill Character Analysis

An English expatriate and journalist. He first came to Nigeria after he fell in love with the roped pots of ancient Igbo-Ukwu art. Richard is very good-looking but extremely shy and awkward. He falls deeply in love with Kainene and they start a relationship. Richard feels like a true Biafran, but in the end he recognizes that as a white man he will always be an outsider to the Igbo’s suffering. He finds a purpose when he begins using his privilege to publish articles about the Biafran War.

Richard Churchill Quotes in Half of a Yellow Sun

The Half of a Yellow Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Richard Churchill or refer to Richard Churchill. 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:
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of Half of a Yellow Sun published in 2006.
Part 1, Chapter 6 Quotes

It was the look in Okeoma’s eyes that worried him the most: a disdainful distrust that made him think of reading somewhere that the African and the European would always be irreconcilable. It was wrong of Okeoma to assume that he was one of those Englishman who did not give the African the benefit of an equal intelligence.

Related Characters: Richard Churchill, Okeoma
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 14 Quotes

The notion of the recent killings being the product of “age-old” hatred is therefore misleading. The tribes of the North and the South have long had contact, at least as far back as the ninth century, as some of the magnificent beads discovered at the historic Igbo-Ukwu site attest. No doubt these groups also fought wars and slave-raided each other, but they did not massacre in this manner. If this is hatred, then it is very young. It has been caused, simply, by the informal divide-and-rule policies of the British colonial exercise.

Related Characters: Richard Churchill (speaker)
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 19 Quotes

Ugwu moved closer to the door to listen; he was fascinated by Rhodesia, by what was happening in the south of Africa. He could not comprehend people that looked like Mr. Richard taking away the things that belonged to people that looked like him, Ugwu, for no reason at all.

Related Characters: Ugwu (speaker), Richard Churchill
Page Number: 266
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 24 Quotes

“I will never forgive myself if I lose you, Kainene.”
Her face was expressionless. “I took your manuscript from the study this morning and I burned it,” she said.
Richard felt a soar in his chest of emotions he could not name. “The Basket of Hands,” the collection of pages that he was finally confident could become a book, was gone… But it did not matter. What mattered was that by burning the manuscript she had shown him that she would not end the relationship; she would not bother to cause him pain if she was not going to stay. Perhaps he was not a true writer after all. He had read somewhere that, for true writers, nothing was more important than their art, not even love.

Related Characters: Kainene Ozobia (speaker), Richard Churchill (speaker)
Page Number: 324
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 4, Chapter 27 Quotes

“Of course I asked because you are white. They will take what you write more seriously because you are white. Look, the truth is that this is not your war. This is not your cause. Your government will evacuate you in a minute if you ask them to. So it is not enough to carry limp branches and shout power, power to show that you support Biafra. If you really want to contribute, this is the way that you can. The world has to know the truth of what is happening, because they simply cannot remain silent while we die.”

Related Characters: Madu Madu (speaker), Richard Churchill
Page Number: 382
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 4, Chapter 33 Quotes

Richard showed them Kainene’s picture. Sometimes, in his rush, he pulled out the picture of the roped pot instead. Nobody had seen her… On the drive back, Richard began to cry.

Related Characters: Richard Churchill (speaker), Kainene Ozobia
Related Symbols: Roped Pots
Page Number: 510
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 4, Chapter 36 Quotes

Madu got up. Richard reached out and grasped his arm. Come back, he wanted to say, come back here and tell me if you ever laid your filthy black hand on her. Madu shrugged Richard’s hand off…
Darkness descended on him, and when it lifted he knew that he would never see Kainene again and that his life would always be like a candlelit room; he would see things only in shadows, only in half glimpses.

Related Characters: Richard Churchill (speaker), Kainene Ozobia, Madu Madu
Page Number: 537
Explanation and Analysis:

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Richard Churchill Character Timeline in Half of a Yellow Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Richard Churchill appears in Half of a Yellow Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 2
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...room and sarcastically discusses Olanna being used as “sex bait.” Kainene says that her boyfriend Richard is moving to Nsukka as well, and she asks Olanna to introduce him to her... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
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The narrative now follows Richard Churchill, an expatriate Englishman in Nigeria. He is living with his girlfriend Susan, who takes... (full context)
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Richard has also learned not to talk to other women too much at these parties, or... (full context)
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Richard had been introduced to Susan by his Aunt Elizabeth. When he said he was going... (full context)
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Susan then asked Richard to move in with her. Richard didn’t want to agree, but he relented to her... (full context)
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At one of Susan’s parties Richard meets Kainene. At first he watches her and wonders why she is at the party,... (full context)
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Susan finally pulls Richard away, and she describes Chief Ozobia as uneducated and nouveau riche (newly rich and flashy).... (full context)
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A few days later Richard calls the operator and finds Kainene’s number. He asks her for a drink and she... (full context)
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Richard was deeply stirred by seeing an Igbo-Ukwu roped pot in a magazine once, which inspired... (full context)
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Richard and Kainene meet for lunch for several days after that, and Richard feels a deep... (full context)
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A few days later they try to have sex again, but this time Richard immediately climaxes. Richard apologizes, and Kainene invites him to dinner with her family that night.... (full context)
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Richard worries about how to break up with Susan. He thinks of his relationship with Susan... (full context)
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Finally Richard breaks up with Susan, saying that their “needs are different.” Susan first accuses him of... (full context)
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The next day Richard again fails to have sex with Kainene, and he thinks about finding some African herbs... (full context)
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Richard tells Kainene that he has left Susan. She is silent for a while, then says... (full context)
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A week later Richard leaves for Nsukka, and he stops at Igbo-Ukwu, the place where the roped pots were... (full context)
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...the excavation the men found many things, including the roped pots and a burial chamber. Richard marvels at the complexity of the Igbo-Ukwu art and civilization even as early as the... (full context)
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Richard reaches the university and finds his new home. He is comforted by how sparse and... (full context)
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Odenigbo’s gardener Jomo also takes care of Richard’s yard, and one day Richard asks him about “herbs for men.” Jomo says he knows... (full context)
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Richard starts spending time with Odenigbo and Olanna, and sitting quietly while they and their friends... (full context)
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Richard visits Kainene in Port Harcourt and she shows him into her spacious house and around... (full context)
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Richard is amazed at how busy Kainene is running her family business. She wants to do... (full context)
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...for “following white men” and disgracing herself. Madu apologizes for him and takes him away. Richard is still irritated and keeps asking Kainene questions about Madu. He is jealous, but doesn’t... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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Ugwu has been amused by Richard lately, as Richard has been asking him questions about his village and wants to go... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
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One day Richard knocks on the door when Odenigbo is out. Olanna answers and tries to engage him... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
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The narrative now follows Richard, who is eating spicy pepper soup at Odenigbo’s house. The other guests marvel at his... (full context)
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While Odenigbo argues with Professor Ezeka, Okeoma asks Richard about his novel. Richard is embarrassed that he has hardly been writing, but he says... (full context)
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Richard goes home feeling dispirited and irritable. He crumples up all the pages of his manuscript... (full context)
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Richard goes to Port Harcourt to see Kainene, and on his second day there she asks... (full context)
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Kainene cancels their dinner plans with Major Madu so they can stay in. She tells Richard about how once she spat in her father’s water glass for no reason. Richard wants... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
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...communist. Meanwhile Ugwu remembers a quarrel from months before, some vague turmoil that resulted in Richard not coming around anymore. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
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Richard and Kainene go to a lavish party with many “Big Men of the new regime”... (full context)
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Richard speaks to Madu in Igbo (which he now speaks well), but Madu always answers in... (full context)
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Two weeks later Richard and Kainene are in Nsukka, and Richard is reading a letter from his cousin, who... (full context)
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Richard turns on the BBC, and the radio says that Northern officers have taken over and... (full context)
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...had protested this policy, but his British commander had ignored him. Madu looks accusingly at Richard as he speaks. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
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The story now follows Richard, who is just touching down in Kano after his visit to London. He is reading... (full context)
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Richard talks to the customs officer, who is from the Southeast. Richard talks about his work... (full context)
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...“Allahu Akbar,” but Nnaemeka won’t, as he knows his Igbo accent will give him away. Richard sees the terror in his eyes, and then the soldier shoots Nnaemeka. The soldiers go... (full context)
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Richard comes to his old girlfriend Susan’s house in Lagos. She is totally calm and makes... (full context)
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Richard goes into the bathroom and looks at himself in the mirror, feeling ashamed. He feels... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 14
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Richard goes to Obosi and finds Nnaemeka’s family. He tells them what happened at the airport,... (full context)
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Richard still feels ashamed that he has remained sane and normal after what he saw at... (full context)
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Richard is nervous about what Kainene thinks of his article, as she has been acting distant... (full context)
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When the secession is announced Richard realizes he is trembling. He feels that he has an identity as a Biafran in... (full context)
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...Nigeria fighting to take back Biafra – but no one really believes it will happen. Richard is sure that Nigeria will leave the Igbo alone after the massacres, and even be... (full context)
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Back at home, Richard describes Ojukwu to Kainene, and he tells her that he saw Olanna at the conference.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 16
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Richard is surprised at the announcement of “police action,” but Kainene says that Nigeria wants all... (full context)
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Susan calls Richard to make sure he is safe. He is touched by her concern, but then she... (full context)
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...soldiers have been getting free food and taxi rides while other people starve – but Richard defends Ojukwu and “the cause.” Kainene says that Madu told her that the army has... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 19
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...pass out. He wants some to use on Nnesinachi when he goes home to take Richard to the ori-okpa festival. Ugwu soon realizes that Harrison doesn’t know what tear gas is,... (full context)
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...him. Ugwu keeps this in mind, and the next day he returns to Opi with Richard. He is heartbroken to hear that Nnesinachi left for the North the week before. Ugwu... (full context)
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Ugwu and Richard drive back to Nsukka, and Ugwu is surprised to find Odenigbo’s mother and Amala at... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 20
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At the liquor store Olanna sees Richard. She invites him to come over and share some wine and talk with her, and... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 21
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Winston Churchill dies, and Richard is relieved to have an excuse to avoid Kainene for another weekend, as he decides... (full context)
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At the memorial service Susan sits next to Richard, and they both weep. Their admiration for Winston Churchill was the only real thing they... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 23
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Olanna goes to Richard’s house. They talk nervously and both decide to keep what happened a secret from Kainene.... (full context)
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...will have to work too to keep the relationship together. Odenigbo says that he saw Richard and told him to stop coming to his house. Olanna says he should blame her,... (full context)
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Olanna gets up and calls Kainene to make sure Richard hasn’t confessed. Kainene is her usual sardonic self, making fun of Odenigbo, and Olanna is... (full context)
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...a few times that evening, and finally she picks up. Kainene immediately says “you fucked Richard.” Kainene sounds calm but hoarse, and she says Olanna is the “good one” and didn’t... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 24
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Richard is enraged at Harrison, who couldn’t keep his mouth shut. In the process of boasting... (full context)
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Later that night Kainene tells Richard that she spoke to Olanna. She says it would have been forgivable with anyone else,... (full context)
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The next morning Richard wants to talk, but Kainene says they will talk when she is ready. Later in... (full context)
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Kainene then tells Richard that she took his manuscript and burned it that morning. Richard is upset at the... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 27
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Richard is at home when Harrison appears at his door, covered in blood. Richard panics and... (full context)
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Harrison hopes he can stay with Richard and Kainene, and Richard agrees, as only one of Kainene’s stewards is left, a man... (full context)
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Richard was surprised when a few weeks earlier Madu had asked him to write for the... (full context)
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Madu says that the Biafran cause doesn’t really belong to Richard, as he could easily be evacuated by the British government if he wanted to. So... (full context)
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Richard’s first article is about the fall of Onitsha, where the Nigerian soldiers defecated on the... (full context)
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Richard calls Madu to ask about Port Harcourt, but Madu assures him that Port Harcourt will... (full context)
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...she got a letter from her mother in London, which contained some cleverly disguised money. Richard asks Kainene about Port Harcourt, and though she assures him it won’t fall she sounds... (full context)
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Richard doesn’t want to leave Port Harcourt, but he is sent to Uli to write an... (full context)
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Count Von Rosen greets Richard and offers him some cheese. He says he has heard about Kainene, and Richard shows... (full context)
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Count Von Rosen leaves to go on a mission, and Richard compares him to the German mercenary also fighting for the Biafrans. The German acted as... (full context)
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Richard and Kainene go to visit their new house being built in Orlu, and on their... (full context)
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...Biafran propaganda, which whips up paranoia about saboteurs and bombs being hidden in household items. Richard defends Ojukwu, but Kainene says Ojukwu has invented all the saboteurs so as to get... (full context)
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Richard and Kainene return to Port Harcourt, and Madu calls. He says people have been attacking... (full context)
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Richard asks Madu about Port Harcourt, and Madu says there have been some non-Igbo saboteurs. Richard... (full context)
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Richard stays inside for a few days, and when he tries to leave Port Harcourt there... (full context)
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Harrison and Ikejide drag their suitcases outside as an air raid begins in Port Harcourt. Richard and Kainene hide under an orange tree and Harrison falls flat on the ground, but... (full context)
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...be paid in food. He says money has no value in “this Biafra.” Kainene tells Richard about Olanna’s experience with the woman carrying her daughter’s head, and Kainene says she wants... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 28
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...Orlu, and Harrison greets her. Kainene is there, and she hugs Olanna. Kainene says that Richard left early, probably to avoid seeing Olanna. Kainene asks Olanna if she ever dreams about... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 30
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Richard is traveling with two American journalists, both named Charles. One is a redhead and one... (full context)
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The Americans ask about the women in Nigeria, and Richard defensively mentions Kainene. They reach the refugee camp and the Americans are horrified to see... (full context)
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...interviews a woman and marvels at her patriotism, saying “the Biafran propaganda machine is great.” Richard says that there is no propaganda – the resistance is strong because the Nigerians kill... (full context)
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Richard takes the Americans to lunch and then to the airstrip. A plane flies by and... (full context)
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Richard gets angry at the redhead about America, which is doing nothing while Biafrans are dying.... (full context)
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Richard goes home and tells Kainene his title. She is wary of the word “we,” and... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 31
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...reach Kainene’s house in Orlu and unpack their things. They have dinner with Kainene and Richard. Richard offers Odenigbo some brandy – it is the first time they have spoken since... (full context)
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...affirms that Biafra will win, and Olanna believes it more when Kainene says it. Sometimes Richard joins the sisters as they sit outside, but Odenigbo never does. One evening Dr. Nwala... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 32
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A few days later Richard comes for Ugwu and takes him away in his car. Ugwu’s wounds are exacerbated by... (full context)
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Richard asks if Ugwu was afraid in the war. Ugwu answers that he found the Frederick... (full context)
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...night Ugwu listens to Olanna and Kainene talk, creating “their own world” that Odenigbo and Richard can never enter, and he uses their words as inspiration for his writing. Harrison sometimes... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 33
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Richard sits with Kainene, Olanna, and Odenigbo as they eat and laugh together. Richard has started... (full context)
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...of people have been doing it. Olanna says she will go with her next time. Richard is surprised to hear of Kainene’s plan, but he bows to the certainty in her... (full context)
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The next morning Richard and Kainene wake up early to see a crowd kicking at a young soldier –... (full context)
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Richard visits “Big Men” all day, but when he comes home Kainene is still gone. He... (full context)
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Odenigbo asks Richard about Kainene and then turns on the radio. Ojukwu is announcing that he will go... (full context)
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Two days pass, and Richard starts to slip into despair. Odenigbo says that Kainene is probably just held up on... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 34
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Odenigbo and Richard return from searching for Kainene, but they have no success. A few days later Olanna... (full context)
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Richard leaves on the night that the roads open. Olanna and Odenigbo go the next morning,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 35
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Ugwu comes back to the kitchen and finds Richard reading his notes. Richard says that Ugwu's writing is “fantastic,” and Ugwu says it will... (full context)
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Ugwu asks if Richard will ask about Eberechi when he is in Umuahia, and Richard says he will. Ugwu... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 36
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Richard goes to his old house in Nsukka. Harrison couldn’t find the old manuscript he had... (full context)
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Richard then goes to Kainene’s old house in Port Harcourt, only because Kainene’s mother asked him... (full context)
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Richard then goes to Umuahia and finds Eberechi’s address. The old woman who greets him looks... (full context)
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Richard then goes to Lagos, where Kainene’s parents greet him. After lunch Richard goes onto the... (full context)
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Madu says “you idiot,” and then punches Richard to the ground. Madu then helps him up and examines his nose. Richard suddenly realizes... (full context)