The Wit and Words of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

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     Have you read the book above? I bet you have. Things Fall Apart by Chinualumogu Achebe.
Things Fall Apart is a highly descriptive book wherein Chinua Achebe paints pictures with words such that even a mind without imagination could almost grasp what was being said vividly. Achebe employs a lot of proverbs and witty sayings in fact as he explains in chapter one;
     “Among the Ibos the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”
     I have taken the time to sieve out the wisdoms and proverbs in this timeless work of art and I’d like to share these twenty five with you.

1- Our elders say that the sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them.
2- As the elders say, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.
3- When the moon is shiny, the cripple becomes hungry for a walk
4- 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.
5- A toad does not run in the day time for nothing
6- An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb
7- The lizard that jumped from the high Iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did.
8- Eneke the bird says that since men have learnt to shoot without missing, he has learnt to fly without perching.
9- You can tell a ripe corn by its look.
10- Looking at a king’s mouth, one would think he never sucked at his mother’s breast.
11- Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.
12- When a man says yes his chi says yes also
13- …the bird Nza who so far forgot himself after a heavy meal that he challenged his chi.
14- Where are the young suckers that will grow old when the banana tree dies?
15- A chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches.
16- A child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam which its mother puts into his palm
17- When mother cow is chewing grass its young one watches its mouth.
18- If I fall down for you and you fall down for me it is play
19- If one finger brought oil, it soiled the others.
20- Never kill a man who says nothing.
21- Living fire begets impotent ash.
22- We do not ask for wealth because he that has health and children will also have wealth. We do not pray to have more money but to have more kinsmen. We are better than animals because we have kinsmen. An animal rubs its itching flank against a tree, a man asks his kinsman to scratch him.
23- A child cannot pay for its mother’s milk.
24- A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.
25- Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life.
   What a sagacious book!


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