Quotes for Friday from Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah

Homeward-bound from your great hunt, the carcass of an elephant on your great head, do you now dally on the way to pick up a grasshopper between your toes? Page 30

I have never seen the sense in sleeping with people. A man should wake up in his own bed. A woman likewise. Whatever they choose to do prior to sleeping is no reason to deny them that right. Page 37

[P]ower is like marrying across the Niger; you soon find yourself paddling by night. Page 45

Worshipping a dictator is such a pain in the ass. It wouldn't be so bad if it was merely a matter of dancing upside down  on your head. With practice anyone could learn to do that. The real problem is having no way of knowing from one day to another, from one minute to the next, just what is up and what is down. Page 45

Chris has a very good theory, I think, on the military vocation. According to this theory military life attracts two different kinds of men: the truly strong who are very rare, and the rest who would be strong. The first group make magnificent soldiers and remain good people hardly ever showing let alone flaunting their strength. The rest are for the swank. Page 46

Nations ... were fostered as much by structures as by laws and revolutions. These structures where they exist now are the pride of their nations. But everyone forgets that they were not erected by democratically-elected Prime Ministers but very frequently by rather unattractive, bloodthirsty medieval tyrants. The cathedrals of Europe, the Taj Mahal of India, the pyramids of Egypt and the stone towers of Zimbabwe were all raised on the backs of serfs, starving peasants and slaves. Our present rulers in Africa are in every sense late-flowering medieval monarchs, even the Marxists among them. Do you remember Mazrui calling Nkrumah a Stalinist Czar? Perhaps our leaders have to be that way. Perhaps they may even need to be that way. Page 76

That every woman needs a man to complete her is a piece of male chauvinist bullshit I had completely rejected before I knew there was anything like Women's Lib. You often hear people say: But that's something you picked up in England. Absolute rubbish! There was enough male chauvinism in my father's house to last me seven reincarnations! Page 88

There is no universal conglomerate of the oppressed. Free people may be alike everywhere in their freedom but the oppressed inhabit each their own peculiar hell. Page 99

[T]he cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighbourhood. You should be proud that this bright cockerel that wakes the whole village comes from your compound. Page 122

When a rich man is sick a beggar goes to visit him and say sorry. When the beggar is sick, he waits to recover and then goes to tell the rich man that he has been sick. It is the place of the poor man to make a visit to the rich man who holds the yam and the knife. Page 127

A man whose horse is missing would look everywhere even in the roof. Page 177
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  1. Oh, I like the one from page 88, about the sexism of his fater's house being enough for seven reincarnations!

  2. Just finished reading this and I totally loved the one from page 127 and let me add that I also the one about oranges and quarrel on page 171. Thank you for sharing.


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