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Quotes

Quote #10

"This is what I tell my own children," said Akuebue to Edogo and the two boys. "I tell them that a man always has more sense than his children." It was clear he said this to mollify Ezeulu; but at the same time it was clear he spoke truth. "Those of you who think they are wiser than their father forget that it is from a man's own stock of sense that he gives out to his sons. That is why a boy who tries to wrestle with his father gets blinded by the old man's loin-cloth." (9.94)

A crucial part of any Igbo man's manhood is his identity as a father and his years on earth. In the West, youth is often worshipped, but among the Igbo, age is venerated and respected. The older you are, the more wisdom you have accumulated, and the more respected you are. The saying that a young man who wrestles with his father is blinded by his loin cloth is also a reference to the two men's sexuality, and their role in procreation. The father's sexuality is more potent than his son's because he has already fathered the next generation and, if he has had grandchildren, the generation after that. This is why the son is blinded by his loincloth – the piece of clothing that hides his father's sexuality.

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