Richard sits with Kainene, Olanna, and Odenigbo as they eat and laugh together. Richard has started to enjoy these evenings, as they remind him of Nsukka. Odenigbo is still brooding, but he talks more now. Odenigbo says that the white man has succeeded in his mission – to conquer Africa through racism.
Among all the suffering and death the most important things in life still spring up briefly – romantic love, sibling love, love between friends, and the importance of cultural identity and intellectual growth.
Kainene says that she wants to cross over to a Nigerian-occupied market to trade for things. Odenigbo warns her that it is dangerous, but Kainene says that lots 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 voice.
We saw Mrs. Muokelu do this earlier without incident, but Kainene’s plan seems to have some momentous foreshadowing to it. The brief moment of happiness and togetherness – when all five protagonists are united – is about to be broken again.
The next morning Richard and Kainene wake up early to see a crowd kicking at a young soldier – half of a yellow sun still visible on his torn uniform – who had been stealing food. Kainene stops the crowd and sends the soldier away with a small bag of ground cassava. Kainene is clearly upset by this scene. She kisses Richard and then sets off to go trade.
The Biafran flag is now a symbol of lost hope and crushed dreams, as the optimistic yellow sun is literally soiled and torn apart, and the “noble” Biafran soldier is reduced to stealing food from starving civilians. This is the last time we see Kainene.
Richard visits “Big Men” all day, but when he comes home Kainene is still gone. He talks to Olanna, who criticizes the Biafran plan to rely on “self-sufficiency and farming.” Richard plays with Baby for a while, but Kainene still doesn’t return. Richard asks Ugwu about his writing, but Ugwu is shy about it.
Kainene’s absence is already ominous, but it just seems like a usual inconvenience of wartime to the characters. Biafra’s plan to rely on farming is tragically ridiculous considering the famine and starvation going on.
Odenigbo asks Richard about Kainene and then turns on the radio. Ojukwu is announcing that he will go abroad in search of peace for Biafra. Night falls, and Richard and Odenigbo search the refugee camp for Kainene, but no one has seen her.
Some Biafrans are still optimistic about Ojukwu’s journey, but many also see it as the leader running away from a lost war and abandoning his people.
Two days pass, and Richard starts to slip into despair. Odenigbo says that Kainene is probably just held up on the other side, as delays happen all the time, and Olanna agrees, though she looks afraid. Olanna and Richard drive around and search for her. Richard shows people his picture of Kainene to try and jog their memory, but sometimes he accidentally takes out the picture of the roped pot instead. On the drive home Richard starts to cry. Olanna yells at him to stop, angrily saying that Kainene is just delayed on the other side for a few days.
Kainene, the most important protagonist to never be given a narrative voice, now disappears into a tragic mystery. Richard’s confusion of Kainene with the roped pot completes the roped pot’s symbolism – it represents Richard’s love for Kainene, but this love is wrapped up in his desire to belong in Biafra, and the objectification and exciting “otherness” of both Nigerian art and Kainene herself.