Richard is surprised at the announcement of “police action,” but Kainene says that Nigeria wants all the oil in the Southeast. She is confident that the war will be quick, though, and that Biafra will be victorious. Richard tries to go to Nsukka to get his things, but he isn’t allowed past the blocked road. He argues with the soldier there, and Richard declares that he is a Biafran, and he calls Kainene his wife, without success. Richard finally relents and turns around.
Kainene seems to have the clearest vision of any character, but she too is filled with confidence in Biafra’s victory. Richard is again projecting his hopes for the future, imagining his ideal life as a true Biafran with Kainene as his wife.
Susan calls Richard to make sure he is safe. He is touched by her concern, but then she starts to insult Africans and Richard hangs up on her. Richard worries about Harrison, who is still in Nsukka, and about his manuscript In the Time of Roped Pots. Richard is struck by a memory of his first manuscript, The Basket of Hands, which Kainene burned under a tree.
We get more details about the past quarrel and its nature starts to take shape. The roped pots reoccur as a symbol for Richard’s relationship with Nigeria and Kainene. This is another manuscript that will be lost forever – another incarnation of Richard’s feelings that he must discard.
Kainene criticizes Ojukwu and the handling of the army – 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 no real weapons, that Ojukwu has been boasting and exaggerating about the power of Biafra with little to back it up.
Kainene is confident in Biafran victory, but she is also willing to see the truth about Ojukwu. He is an inspirational speaker, but also boastful and growing more corrupt. Richard feels a close personal connection with Biafra’s success, as it has become key to his identity and happiness.