This is Chinua Achebe's classic novel, with more than two million copies sold since its first U.S. publication in 1969. Combining a richly African story with the author's keen awareness of the qualities common to all humanity, Achebe here shows that he is "gloriously gifted, with the magic of... read more
“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
“That man was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. You drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog...”Obierika
“Turning and turning in the widening gyreThe falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”Achebe uses this opening stanza of William Butler Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming,” from which the title of the novel is taken, as an epigraph to the novel.
““Does the white man understand our custom about land?” “How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.””This exchange occurs at the end of Chapter 20 during the conversation between Obierika and Okonkwo.
“He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.”This sentence, which concludes the novel, satirizes the entire tradition of western ethnography and imperialism itself as a cultural project, and it suggests that the ethnographer in question, the District Commissioner, knows very little about his subject and projects a great deal of his European colonialist values onto it.
“And at last the locusts did descend. They settled on every tree and on every blade of grass; they settled on the roofs and covered the bare ground. Mighty tree branches broke away under them, and the whole country became the brown-earth color of the vast, hungry swarm.”This passage from Chapter 7 represents, in highly allegorical terms, the arrival of the colonizers.
“Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.”This quote, from the narrator’s recounting, in Chapter 1, of how Unoka calmly interacted with someone to whom he owed money, alludes to the highly sophisticated art of rhetoric practiced by the Igbo.
“He was like the man in the song who had ten and one wives and not enough soup for his foo-foo.”Foo-Foo
“Almost immediately the women came in with a big bowl of foo-foo.”Foo-Foo
“It was only this morning that Okonkwo and I were talking about Abame and Aninta, where titled men climb trees and pound foo-foo for their wives.”Foo-Foo
“The world was silent except for the shrill cry of insects, which was part of the night and the sound of wooden mortar and pestle as Nwayieke pounded her foo-foo.”Foo-Foo
“Young men pounded the foo-foo or split firewood.”Foo-Foo
“There were huge bowls of foo-foo and steaming pots of soup.”Foo-Foo
“That had been his life-spring.”
“You think you are the greatest sufferer in the world? Do you know that men are sometimes banished for life? Do you know that men sometimes lose all their yams and even their children? I had six wives once. I have none now except that young girl who knows not her right from her left. Do you know how many children I have buried--children I begot in my youth and strength? Twenty-two. I did not hang myself, and I am still alive. If you think you are the greatest sufferer in the world ask my daughter, Akueni, how many twins she has borne and thrown away. Have you not heard the song they sing when a woman dies?'For whom is it well, for whom is it well? There is no one for whom it is well.' "I have no more to say to you.”Uchendu, to Okonkwo in exile at his mother's clan
“When you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then you know something is after its life.”
“Como decían los ancianos, si un niño se lavaba las manos podía comer con reyes”Narrator
“Pero toda su vida había estado dominada por el miedo, el miedo al fracaso y a la debilidad”Narrator sobre Okonkowo
“La vida de un hombre desde el nacimiento hasta la muerte era una serie de ritos de paso que le acercaban cada ves más a sus antepasados.”Narrator
“Si hubieras sido pobre en tu ultima existencia, te pediría que fueras rico cuando regreses otra vez. Pero fuiste rico. Si hubieras sido cobarde, te pediría que tuvieras valor. pero fuiste un guerrero valeroso. Si hubieras muerto joven, te pediría vida. pero viviste mucho tiempo. Así que te pido que vuelvas como antes. Si tu muerte fue una muerte natural, ve en paz. pero si la causó un hombre, no le permitas que tenga un momento de reposo.”El espíritu
“La vida de un hombre desde el nacimiento hasta la muerte era una serie de ritos de paso que le acercaban cada vez más a sus antepasados.”the narrator
“Perro fue como reiniciar la vida sin el vigor ni el entusiasmo de la juventud, era como aprender a ser zurdo en la vejez.”
“¿Es justo que tú, Okonkwo, le pongas una cara triste a tu madre y te niegues a recibir consuelo? Ten cuidado o disgustarás a los difuntos. Tienes la obligación de consolar a tus esposas y a tus hijos y llevarlos a la tierra de tu padre así pasen siete años. pero si dejas que te domine y te mate la pesadumbre, morirán todos ellos en el desierto.”Uchendu, to Okonkwo in exile at his mother's clan
“En vuestra generación ya no es así. Os quedais en casa, tenéis miedo del vecino de al lado”Obierika
“Chielo, la sacerdotisa del clan decía que los conversos eran el excremento del clan y la nueva fe un perro rabioso que había ido a devorarlo”Chiel
“Voy a celebrar un banquete porque tengo con qué. Yo no puedo vivir a la orilla de un río y lavarme las manos con saliva. La gente de mi madre ha sido buena conmigo y tengo que demostrar mi gratitud”Okonkwo
“Cuando nos reunimos en el campo de la aldea a la luz de la luna no lo hacemos por la luna. Todos pueden verla en su propio recinto. Nos reunimos porque es bueno que los parientes se reúnan.”Okonkwo
“Pero temo por vosotros los jóvenes, porque no comprendéis lo fuerte que es el vínculo de parentesco”Okonkwo
“El blanco había llevado realmente una religión de locos pero también había instalado una factoría, y el aceite de palma y el maíz se convirtieron por primera vez en articulos de gran valor y afluyó a Umuofia mucho dinero”Narrator
“Siempre que veas saltar un sapo a plena luz del día puedes estar seguro de que hay algo que pone en peligro su vida”Okika´s Father
But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of the forces of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo’s fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father.Highlighted by 328 Kindle customers
He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”Highlighted by 316 Kindle customers
Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger. To show affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength.Highlighted by 297 Kindle customers
Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.Highlighted by 243 Kindle customers
And so Okonkwo was ruled by one passion—to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness.Highlighted by 236 Kindle customers
Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.Highlighted by 234 Kindle customers
“Do not despair. I know you will not despair. You have a manly and a proud heart. A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone.”Highlighted by 233 Kindle customers
“When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk.”Highlighted by 224 Kindle customers
He had a slight stammer and whenever he was angry and could not get his words out quickly enough, he would use his fists. He had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had had no patience with his father.Highlighted by 215 Kindle customers
Unoka was never happy when it came to wars. He was in fact a coward and could not bear the sight of blood.Highlighted by 186 Kindle customers
Followed by No Longer at Ease.
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