Things Fall Apart
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
But there was a young lad who had been captivated. His name was Nwoye, Okonkwo’s first son. It was not the mad logic of the Trinity that captivated him. He did not understand it. It was the poetry of the new religion, something felt in the marrow. The hymn about brothers who sat in darkness and in fear seemed to answer a vague and persistent question that haunted his young soul – the question of the twins crying in the bush and the question of Ikemefuna who was killed. He felt a relief within as the hymn poured into his parched soul. The words of the hymn were like the drops of frozen rain melting on the dry palate of the panting earth. (16.24)
It is not the logic of the words that touch Ikemefuna, but his own personal story that he associates with the poetic sounds of the words the missionaries are speaking. The song brings back to him the tragedy of Ikemefuna’s needless death.
[Okonkwo to Nwoye after he converts to Christianity]: “Where have you been?” he stammered
Nwoye struggled to free himself from the choking grip.
“Answer me,” roared Okonkwo, “before I kill you!” He seized a heavy stick that lay on the dwarf wall and hit him two or three savage blows.
“Answer me!” he roared again. Nwoye stood looking at him and did not say a word. The women were screaming outside, afraid to go in. (17.16-19)
Though Okonkwo asks his son a question, he doesn’t want to hear the answer. He prevents his son from confirming his terrible fears by choking him such that the young man can’t speak.
Perhaps it never did happen. That was the way the clan at first looked at it. No one had actually seen the man do it. The story had a risen among the Christians themselves. (18.18)
The Umuofia doubt the truth of a story, a rumor. They do not believe the truth of something told by the Christians.