Short Story Analysis

"Vengeful Creditor" by Chinua Achebe

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Critical biography

Chinua Achebe was born on November 16, 1930 in Ogidi, Nigeria. Growing up, Chinua loved reading and listening to stories told to him by his father. In college, Achebe "published stories in the University of Herald, and upon graduation he decided to be a writer" ("Vengeful Creditor").

The story “Vengeful Creditor” was released in 1971 in Okike: A Nigerian Journal of New Writing, a magazine founded by Achebe himself ("Vengeful Creditor"). In “Vengeful Creditor”, Chinua incorporates the use of the Igbo language, his native language ("Vengeful Creditor"), adding a little bit of himself into the story.

Chinua’s most popular story Things Fall Apart, was published in 1958 and had over 10 million copies sold in over 45 languages. The story was inspired by his own family life and how the Nigerian culture was victimized by racism in Britain. Achebe continued to win honorary degrees in more than 30 universities around the world, until his death in Boston, Massachusetts on March 21, 2013 (Kandell).


In the short story, "Vengeful Creditor", by Chinua Achebe, a young girl who has just finished primary school is asked to babysit the youngest child of the Emenike family. When the young girls mother agrees to let her leave, she is lead to believe that once the baby grows up and can go to primary school himself, she will be able to go to school also. The young girl attempts to murder the child because she believes that it is the only way she will be placed back in school, but she does not succeed (Achebe). The story has an interesting and realistic way of showing just how far desperation can take a person to get what they want.

Analysis of theme

The theme of “Vengeful Creditor” is, even if one long's for something deeply, they must think of the pros and cons of the actions they take to fulfill this desire. In the story, the mother makes a statement towards her daughter saying, "You gave the baby red ink? Why? So you can go to school?" (Achebe). This evidence shows that being desperate for something can make someone do things they would not ordinarily do. Considering Veronica wished so deeply to go back to school, she was willing to do whatever it took, even if it means killing a child.

In the story, another statement was told which said, "...the red ink was given to the baby to drink and that the motive was to encompass its death-"(Achebe). This statement shows us that Veronica did intend on killing the child to get what she wanted. "Mr. Emenike himself believes that "any sacrifice" should be made in order to secure an education. Since little Goddy seems to be the primary impediment to Veronica's education, she quite naturally wishes to eliminate him" ("Vengeful creditor", 348).

The message of the story shows us that thinking before acting is critical. Before deciding on something, it’s vital to think about what the actions taken could lead to. Veronica did not think clearly about the decision she made, which hurt her in the end.

Works cited

Achebe, Chinua. "Vengeful Creditor." (1971). (n.d.). RevSocialist. SocialistStories. Web. 29 April 2016. PDF file.

Kandell, Jonathan. "Chinua Achebe, African Literary Titan, Dies at 82." The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Vengeful Creditor." HighBeam Research, 2016. Web. 05 May 2016.

"Vengeful Creditor." Short Stories for Students. Ed. Kathleen Wilson. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 348. Print.