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Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

Language and Communication Quotes Page 13

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #37

[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.

Quote #38

Okudo sang a war song in a way that no other man could. He was not a fighter, but his voice turned every man into a lion. (24.7)

Okonkwo admires the power of language and song to breathe courage into men and steel them for war.

Quote #39

The Commissioner did not understand what Obierika meant when he said “Perhaps your men will help us.” One of the most infuriating habits of these people was their love of superfluous words, he thought. (25.8)

The Commissioner, like Okonkwo, doesn’t put much stock in words. Instead, he finds them rather annoying. Because he does not understand Obierika’s meaning, he immediately dismisses the man’s words as “superfluous” and “infuriating” – when they’re actually pretty straightforward from Obierika’s standpoint.

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