It is a good thing that life is not as serious as it seems to a waiter.Don Herold
- For an African writing in English is not without its serious setbacks. He often finds himself describing situations or modes of thought which have no direct equivalent in the English way of life. Caught in that situation he can do one of two things. He can try and contain what he wants to say within the limits of conventional English or he can try to push back those limits to accommodate his ideas ... I submit that those who can do the work of extending the frontiers of English so as to accommodate African thought-patterns must do it through their mastery of English and not out of innocence.
- Quoted by Kalu Ogbaa, Understanding Things Fall Apart (1999), Greenwood Press, ISBN 978-0-313-30294-7.
Things Fall Apart (1958)
- We shall all live. We pray for life, children, a good harvest and happiness. You will have what is good for you and I will have what is good for me. Let the kite perch and let the egret perch too. If one says no to the other, let his wing break.
- Chapter 3
- And when, as on that day, nine of the greatest masked spirits in the clan came out together it was a terrifying spectacle.
Okonkwo's wives, and perhaps other women as well, might have noticed that the second egwugwu had the springy walk of Okonkwo. And they might also have noticed that Okonkwo was not among the titled men and elders who sat behind the row of egwugwu. But if they thought these things they kept them to themselves. The egwugwu with the springy walk was one of the dead fathers of the clan.
- Chapter 10
- "We have heard stories about white men who make the powerful guns and the strong drinks and took slaves away across the seas, but no one thought the stories were true." [said Obierika]
"There is no story that is not true," said Uchendu. "The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others. We have albinos among us. Do you not think that they came to our clan by mistake, that they have strayed from their way to a land where everybody is like them?"
- Chapter 15
- "Let us give them a portion of the Evil Forest. They boast about victory over death. Let us give them a real battlefield in which to show their victory." [...] They offered them as much of the Evil Forest as they cared to take. And to their great amazement the missionaries thanked them and burst into song.
- Chapter 17
- The white man is very clever. He came quietly with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.
- Chapter 20
- As a man danced so the drums were beaten for him.
- Chapter 22
- Eneke the bird was asked why he was always on the wing and he replied: "Men have learned to shoot without missing their mark and I have learned to fly without perching on a twig."
- Chapter 24
- A District Commissioner must never attend to such undignified details as cutting a hanged man from the tree. Such attention would give the natives a poor opinion of him. In the book which he planned to write he would stress that point. [...] One could almost write a whole chapter on him. Perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph, at any rate.
- Chapter 25