Quotes for Friday from Bessie Head's A Question of Power (II)

Last Friday when I brought you quotes from this novel, I promised that if the latter part of the book has as many deep aphorisms as I presented I would do a part two of this and this would have been the first time I am sampling from one book on two different Fridays. The promise was affirmed when I reviewed the book yesterday. In fact, I could quote the who novel if possible. Today, I sample from the part of the book which had not been read as of last week's post.

When someone says 'my people' with a specific stress on the blackness of those people, they are after kingdoms and permanently child-like slaves. 'The people' are never going to rise above the status of 'the people'. They are going to be told what is good for them by the 'mother' and the 'father'.
Page 63

When people stumble upon magic they study it very closely, because all living people are, at heart, amateur scientists and inventors. Why must racialists make an exemption of the black man? Why must she come here and help the black man with a special approach: ha, ha, ha, you're never going to come up to our level of civilisation?
Elizabeth, Page 83

The victim is really the most flexible, the most free person on earth. He doesn't have to think up endless laws and endless falsehoods. His jailer does that. His jailer creates the chains and the oppression. He is merely presented with it. He is presented with a thousand and one hells to live through, and he usually lives through them all.
Elizabeth, Page 84

Who is the greater man - the man who cries, broken by anguish, or his scoffing, mocking, jeering oppressor?
Elizabeth, Page 84

'God isn't a magical formula for me,' ... 'God isn't a switched-on, mysterious, unknown current. I can turn to and, by doing so, feel secure in my own nobility.
Birgette, Page 85

Love is so powerful, it's like unseen flowers under your feet as you walk.
Elizabeth, Page 86

You don't realize the point at which you become evil.
Sello, Page 96

Say a warrior takes on any kind of battle because war is his business. It is an ugly business but, like all activities, it forms its own moral codes so that the business may be conducted as nobly as possible.
Page 103

Never think along lines of I and mine. It is death.
Page 134

When a man is born to create beautiful dreams he seems in every way mentally prepared for the event.
Page 150

If things of the soul are really a question of power, then anyone in possession of power of the spirit could be Lucifer.
Sello, Page 199

This concludes the quotes from Bessie Head's A Question of Power. Read the previous Bessie Head's quotes here.


  1. The book proves to be a promising read. I like the quotation on love. Some of these quotations you put forward often have me thinking and wanting to read the book. Thanks.

  2. @Geosi, that's the deal... to get you to reading the book

  3. I like the quote about how you don't know when you become evil; I think there's an invisible line in our souls and we have to take care to stay away. very true.

  4. you are right Marie. Though the line is thin we must be alert not to cross it as some do and only give excuses when confronted

  5. These quotes are quite thought provoking and powerful, and though I know little about the book, your talent of hand picking just the right quotes has made me really intrigued by this book. Wonderful post, Nana!


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