Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart Chapter Twenty-Three Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[Okonkwo]: “An Umuofia man does not refuse a call,” he said. “He may refuse to do what he is asked; he does not refuse to be asked.” (23.6)
Okonkwo’s maxim illustrates one of the qualities an Umuofia man prides himself on – generosity and willingness to listen. An Umuofia man honors a summoner and hears his words respectfully.
It was the time of the full moon. But that night the voice of children was not heard. The village ilo where they always gathered for a moon-play was empty. The women of Iguedo did not meet in their secret enclosure to learn a new dance to be displayed later to the village. Young men who were always abroad in the moonlight kept their huts that night. Their manly voices were not heard on the village paths as they went to visit their friends and lovers. Umuofia was like a startled animal with ears erect, sniffing the silent, ominous air and not knowing which way to run. (23.25)
The capture and ransom of Umuofia’s leaders disrupts the fabric of life so much that the villagers do not continue their customary nightly activities. They stay in their huts, immobilized by fear and confusion. Such an offense has never been committed against their leaders and the villagers don’t know how to react.
The six men ate nothing throughout that day and the next. They were not even given any water to drink, and they could not go out to urinate or go into the bush when they were pressed. At night the messengers came in to taunt them and to knock their shaven heads together. (23.16)
The guards make a point of showing the leaders of Umuofia that their strong reputations mean nothing to white men.