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Things Fall Apart | Quotes

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1.

Okonkwo had clearly washed his hands and so he ate with the kings and elders.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 1

This description makes it clear that Okonkwo's ambition and drive have enabled him to succeed. Hard work is valued and respected by the clan.

2.

Okonkwo was ruled by one passion—to hate everything that his father Unoka had loved.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 2

Okonkwo is driven by this one simple goal. He is ashamed of his father and wants to be rid of any reminder of him.

3.

He was not afraid of war. He was ... a man of war.


Narrator, Part 1, Chapter 4

Okonkwo is ready and eager to do his part. He needs to be engaged in activity to feel useful.

4.

That boy calls you father. ... Bear no hand in his death.


Ezeudu, Part 1, Chapter 13

Okonkwo does not heed this advice. He decides he must be involved in Ikemefuna's death or he will lose respect. The decision is disastrous, as it leads to the rupture with his son Nwoye.

5.

It was like beginning life anew without the vigor and enthusiasm of youth.


Narrator, Part 2, Chapter 14

These words describe Okonkwo as he begins his exile in Mbanta. He never completely adjusts to his new surroundings.

6.

Never kill a man who says nothing.


Uchendu, Part 2, Chapter 15

Uchendo says this about the Abame people who killed the white man. He associates silence with danger.

7.

Living fire begets cold, impotent ash.


Narrator, Part 2, Chapter 17

These thoughts are going through Okonkwo's mind as he contemplates the loss of Nwoye. He wonders how he could have produced a son so different from himself.

8.

He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.


Obierika, Part 3, Chapter 20

This reference to the book's title is part of Obierika's analysis of how the missionaries and white men destroyed the clan.

9.

Okonkwo was deeply grieved. ... He mourned for the clan ... for the warlike men.


Narrator, Part 3, Chapter 21

Okonkwo is saddened over the state of the clan. He is nostalgic for the time when the men were violent and would fight back when wronged.

10.

He had already chosen the title ... The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.


Narrator, Part 3, Chapter 25

The District Commissioner's choice of title for his book shows his lack of understanding of the Igbo culture and underscores his role in destroying it.

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