Top 308 Quotes & Sayings by Chinua Achebe

Explore popular quotes and sayings by a Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe.
Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic who is regarded as the dominant figure of modern African literature. His first novel and magnum opus, Things Fall Apart (1958), occupies a pivotal place in African literature and remains the most widely studied, translated and read African novel. Along with Things Fall Apart, his No Longer at Ease (1960) and Arrow of God (1964) complete the so-called "African Trilogy"; later novels include A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). He is often referred to as the "father of African literature", although he vigorously rejected the characterization.

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Abnormality Abomination Abroad Absence Absolutely Accept Accepted Accepting Account Accusation Hide All Ache Achievement Acting Added Adequate Admit Advantage Adversaries Advertisements Advice Advocate Affected Affects Afraid Africa African Age Agencies Aggressive Agony Agreed Alive All Kinds Alligator Allowed Ally Alongside Altered Amazed America Amused Anarchy Ancestors Anger Angry Angry Man Ankle Announced Answer Answers Apology Appalling Apparent Appeal Applied Approve Area Areas Argued Arising Arrangement Art Art Of Conversation Artist Artists Asked Asks Aspect Assistance Attained Attempt Attribute Attributed Audience Authority Automatically Average Average Man Avoiding Awake Awareness Awful Babies Back Backward Bad Government Badly Balance Banks Basic Basically Battles Battling Be Brave Be Creative Be Encouraged Be Good Be Happy Be Humble Be Kind Be Prepared Beads Beat Beaten Beating Beautiful Beautiful Poetry Bedfellows Began Begets Begin Beginners Beginning Behalf Belief Believed Belly Belong Belongs Benevolent Best Work Betray Beware Bidding Biggest Birth Bizarre Blackboard Blame Blind Blind Man Blows Blunt Body Bold Bone Bones Book Book Of Genesis Books Boring Borrowed Brain Brain Drain Brave Brave Man Bravery Break Breaking Breaks Bribe Brightest Bring Brings British Broad Broke Brother Brothers Brought Brown Budding Burns Business By The People Cactus Callous Calls Capricious Care Career Careers Careful Carelessness Carrier Carries Carry Case Casting Catching Cattle Ceiling Celebrate Centuries Century Chalk Challenge Champions Chance Change Changed Chaotic Chapter Character Characters Charge Charity Chest Chewing Chief Child Children China Choices Chooses Chop Chosen Christianity Church Cities Citizens Civil Civil War Civilians Civility Claim Claimed Clan Class Classical Clear Clever Climate Climb Clique Closed Closed Mind Clutch Cold Collapse Collapsed Collect Colonial Color Comfortable Coming Coming Out Commitment Committing Common Common Sense Communion Community Competent Complete Complexity Complicated Compound Compromised Concern Concerned Conditions Confirm Conflict Confused Congress Conquer Consequence Considered Constant Constantly Contact Contemplate Context Continent Continue Contradiction Contradictions Contribution Control Conversation Converts Convinced Cook Cooperate Corn Corrupted Corrupts Country Coup Courage Cover Covered Coward Cracked Craft Create Created Creates Creating Creation Creative Creativity Criminal Law Cripple Critic Crowd Crowds Cruel Cultivation Cults Cultural Culture Cultures Cured Custom Cutting Damage Dance Danced Dances Dancing Danger Darfur Darkness Dash Date Dated Daylight Days Daytime Dead Deadly Deaf Dealing Death Debate Debt Decide Decision Decisions Deep Deep Within Deeper Deeper Understanding Defeated Definition Degenerate Deliberately Delivered Demands Democracy Depend Depending Deprived Depths Descend Describe Designed Desirable Desire Despair Desperately Destroy Destroyed Details Develop Developed Development Diabolical Dialect Dialects Dialogue Didactic Died Dies Difference Different Kind Different Kinds Different Languages Different Parts Different Perspectives Different Places Different Worlds Differently Difficult Difficult And Easy Difficult Thing Difficulties Directed Disc Discipline Discover Discuss Discussion Disease Distressing Diversity Doctor Doctors Domain Dominated Don't Care Door Draft Dragged Drain Drama Dramas Drawn Dreadful Drew Drinks Drive Drowning Drum Drums Dry Bones Drying Eagle Early Earth Easier Easy Easy To Get Eaten Eats Economic Economy Educated Educated People Education Effect Effective Effectively Effort Elaborate Elders Elected Election Eliminating Elude Embrace Emperor Empty Encountered Encouraged Endless Ends Enemies Enemy Energy Engage Engine England English English Language Enjoy Enjoyed Enormous Ensure Entitled Environment Equipment Erudition Escort Essays Estate Ethereal Ethnicity Europe European Europeans Evangelist Eventually Everlasting Evil Exact Exaggerated Examine Exchange Exchanging Excited Exciting Excuses Exist Existed Existing Exists Expect Expected Experience Explanations Exploiting Express Extent External Extreme Extremely Extremists Eyes Face Faced Facility Fact Factions Factor Fail Failure Failure Of Leadership Fair Fall Fallen Familiar Family Fascinated Fascinating Fast Father Fathers Faults Favor Fear Fear Of Failure Fearless Feast Federal Federal Government Federation Feel Feet Felicity Fell Fellow Felt Fence Few People Fiction Fight Fights Fill Film Films Find Finger Fingers Finish Fire Fired Fires Firm First Place First Thing First Things Five Years Fixation Fixing Flesh Floor Flow Followership Folly Food Fool Foolish Foolishness Foot Force Forces Forces Of Nature Foreign Forest Forever Forget Forget It Forgotten Form Fortune Forward Found Free Freedom Frequently Friendliness Friendly Frighten Frightened Front Frozen Fruitful Frustrating Frustration Fulfill Full Fullness Function Fundamentally Funeral Future Future Generation Future Generations Gains Gather Gender General Generally Generation Generations Genesis Genocide Genuine Geography Girl Give Give Me Glorify Glory Goal Goat Goddess Gods Good Good Advice Good And Bad Good Art Good Enough Good Fortune Good Government Good Leader Good Shape Good Work Good Works Gospel Government Grace Graduates Grandiose Granted Grass Grave Graveyard Gray Great Great Country Great Diversity Great Thing Greater Greatest Greatness Grew Grew Up Grime Ground Grounded Group Grow Grow Up Growing Growing Up Guest Guns Habit Habitable Hand Handed Handle Hands Hanged Happen Happened Happening Happiness Happy Hard Harshness Harvest Hatched Head Headaches Heads Health Healthy Hear Heard Heart Heart And Mind Heart Of Darkness Height Held Hell Herbs Hiding High Highly Hints His Love Historian Historians History Hold Hollow Holy Home Homes Honest Honestly Honor Hopelessly Horrors Hospitals Hostility House Huge Human Human Spirit Humanity Humble Humiliated Hundred Hundred Years Hungry Hunt Hunter Hurry Hurt I Don't Care I Have Learned I Realized Idea Ideal Idealist Ideas Identification Identify Ignorant Illiterate Illogical Image Imagination Imagine Impatient Imperfections Importance Important Important Message Important Thing Imposing Impossible Impression Imprisonment Improving In Fact In The Past Inability Inadequacy Incite Inclination Include Incompetence Incomplete Increase Increasingly Incredible Indigenous Infrastructure Inherit Initiative Innate Insane Inside Insisting Inspiration Inspired Instance Integrity Interest Interested Interesting Interfere International Intervene Intimate Intimidating Intolerable Introducing Invention Inverted Involve Joseph Journey Juicy Jumping Jumping In Justify Keep Moving Kind Kinds Kingdom Kingdom Of God Kings Kite Kneel Knew Knife Knocks Knowledge Labels Lack Lame Lamp Land Lands Language Languages Large Large Crowds Larger Larger Than Life Late Latin Latin America Laughter Layer Lazy Lazy Man Leader Leaders Leadership Learn Learned Learning Learns Learnt Leave Left Left Alone Left Out Legitimate Lethargic Level Library Lick Lies Life Life Is Light Likes Limited Lines Linked Lions Lips Listen Literacy Literary Literature Little Knowledge Live Live Television Lived Lives Living Lizard Lizards Load Local Long Long Period Long Way Long Way To Go Longer Loose Lord Lose Lost Love Lovecraft Loved Lovely Lower Lowering Lump Machine Machines Made Made It Magic Magnificence Main Main Thing Maize Major Majority Make Make Sense Maker Makes Making Malevolent Malice Manage Mandela Manipulate Mankind Manner Manuscript Manuscripts March Mark Market Marry Mask Massacres Master Matter Matters Meaning Means Meant Meant To Be Medium Members Memory Mentioned Mere Mess Message Messenger Messy Methods Mild Military Milk Million Million People Millions Millions Of People Mind Minded Minds Mini Miracle Miracle Worker Miss Missing Mission Mistake Mistakes Mistreatment Mode Modesty Moment Moments Money Moon Moral Moral Obligation Morally Morning Morning Person Mosque Mosquito Most Important Thing Mother Mothers Motivating Mouth Mouths Move Moves Moving Mugabe Murderer Music Muslims My Generation My Life Mysteries Mystery Myths Naive Naked Naming Narrow Nation Nations Native Native America Native American Native Americans Natural Nature Nearer Necessarily Neck Neighbors Neighbours Nelson News Next Door Next Generation Next Thing Niger Nigeria Nigerian Night No Chance No Idea Noise Normal Normalcy North Not Good Enough Not Interested Novelist Novelists Novels Nowadays Number Numbers Obeying Objective Obligation Observe Obsession Obvious Of My Mind Offender Offense Official Okonkwo Old People Old Woman Oldest Ominous Oneself Open Opening Opium Opponents Oppressed Oppression Oppressor Option Oracle Oral Oral Tradition Order Ordinary Orthodoxy Our Children Our Community Our Lives Our Lord Our People Our Planet Our Society Our Town Overdue Owned Owns Pace Paid Pain Painted Palm Paper Paragraph Parents Part Participatory Parts Party Passage Passed Passing Passion Past Pays Peace Peculiar People People Say Pepper Perfect Perform Performing Period Permission Person Personal Perspective Perspectives Persuade Pessimism Pessimistic Phrase Physical Physical Therapy Pick Picture Piece Place Places Planet Plant Planted Play Plays Pleasures Plot Poet Poetic Poetry Point Policeman Policies Policy Political Political Class Politicians Politics Poor Position Positions Possibilities Post Potentially Power Powerful Powerless Practical Practically Practicing Praise Praiseworthy Pray Pray For Praying Predictable Prefer Prepared Prescribing Prescriptions Presence Present Presented Preserve President Presidents Press Pressure Price Pride Primary Primitive Print Privilege Privileged Problem Problematic Problems Proceed Procrastination Produce Produced Produces Producing Profession Professors Progeny Promise Prophets Prose Prosper Prosperous Protect Protest Proverb Proverbs Providence Pseudonym Publish Pull Pulling Punish Punishment Purpose Puts Putting Puzzle Puzzles Quality Question Questions Quietly Racism Racist Radical Rain Raised Rate Reach Read Reader Readers Readership Reading Reading And Writing Ready Real Reality Reality Of Life Realize Realized Rear Reason Reason Why Reasons Receiving Recognize Recognizing Reduce Reflect Reflection Refusal Refusing Regarded Regeneration Regime Regimes Regularly Reinforce Related Relationship Relevance Religion Religions Religious Remember Remind Remote Renaissance Repair Replace Represent Require Required Requires Resistance Resolved Resources Respect Respected Respond Responsibility Responsible Rest Restraint Result Results Retreat Returned Revered Revolt Rhetoric Rich Richness Right Side Right Thing Rightly Rigid Ripe Rise Rising Rising Up Risk Rites Roads Robust Role Room Rooted Routine Ruins Rule Rulers Rules Running Runs Rural Rural Areas Rush Rwanda Sake Same Story Same Time Satisfied Satisfy Savagery Save Saved Saves Scale School Schools Scope Screen Scribbling Script Scripts Search Seas Season Seat Section Sections Seeds Seek Seeks Sees Self-Knowledge Sense Sensitivity Series Serious Business Serve Served Sets Settling Settling Down Severe Shame Shape Sharia Sheer Shine Shine On Shines Shining Shoes Shoot Show Shows Side Sides Sign Signs Silent Simple Simple Things Simple Truth Simplify Simply Sing Singer Single Sink Sitting Situation Situations Skeleton Skepticism Slave Slave Trade Slavery Slogans Slowly Small Sober Society Soil Solution Some People Some Things Someday Something Good Sort Sound Space Spark Speak Speaks Spirit Spit Spoiled Spoken Spot Spreading Stage Stamp Stand Standing Start Started Starvation Starving State Statement States Status Stay Steal Stereotype Stereotypes Stole Stomach Stool Stop Stopped Stops Stories Story Storyteller Storytellers Straight Strain Strange Stranger Strength Stressed Strong Strong Drink Strongly Struggle Struggled Struggling Stuck Student Students Students Today Stuff Stumble Stupid Stupid Man Subject Subjection Subjects Submission Succumb Sucked Suddenly Suffering Suit Superstition Support Supporter Suppose Surface Surprised Surprising Surrounded Surroundings Surviving Survivors Swallow Sweat Sweetness Swine Table Taken For Granted Takes Taking Talent Talents Talk Talking Tangible Task Taste Teach Teacher Technique Television Telling Telling It Like It Is Tells Temple Ten Years Tend Tendency Term Terms Terribly Territory Tests The First Thing The History Of The Most Important The Only Thing The Problem With The Right Thing Themes Theories Theorists Therapy Thick Thing Things Thinking Thinks Thirty Thirty-Five Thought Thoughts Threat Threaten Throwing Time Times Timetable Tired Tissue Title Toad Today Toll Tooth Tortoise Touch Tough Tough Job Town Trade Trading Tradition Traditional Tragedy Trample Transition Translate Traveled Travels Treated Treats Tree Tribes Triumph Trouble True True Leader True Leadership Truest Trust Truth Truth Is Turn Turned Twenty Twig Two Choices Two Years Type Typewriter Typing Ultimate Unable Uncomfortable Uncontrollable Understand Understanding Understood Uneasy Unfamiliar Unfamiliar Territory Union Unit Universal Universities University Unleashed Unnecessary Unreasonable Us Military Useless Users Usurpers Utterly Vain Valuable Valuable Thing Veil Very Clever Very Good Viable Victim Victims Video Videos View Viewed Village Vines Visit Vocabulary Voice Vulture Waist Wake Wake Up Walk Walking Walks Wall Wandering Wanted Warned Warrior Wash Washed Wasteful Watch Water Way Of Thinking Ways Weakness Weapon Weight Weird Weird Thing Weird Things Whip White White Man White Racism Whole Life Whole World Wide Wide Awake Wife Wild Windows Wing Wisdom Witch Withhold Wizard Woman Women Women Are Wonders Wooden Word Word Of Mouth Words Work Work Out Workers Working Works World Worlds Worries Worry Worse Worth Wrath Wrestling Write Write Your Own Writer Writers Writing Writing Poetry Written Written Word Wrong Wrote Yams Year Years Years Ago Yeats Yesterday Yield Young Young Man Young Men Young Ones Young People Young Person Younger Younger People Less More Hide All See All
One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.
The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.
Each of my books is different. Deliberately... I wanted to create my society, my people, in their fullness. — © Chinua Achebe
Each of my books is different. Deliberately... I wanted to create my society, my people, in their fullness.
The whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify. Instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity - that it's this or maybe that - you have just one large statement; it is this.
The relationship with my people, the Nigerian people, is very good. My relationship with the rulers has always been problematic.
Once a novel gets going and I know it is viable, I don't then worry about plot or themes. These things will come in almost automatically because the characters are now pulling the story.
Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it's far removed from your situation.
I don't care about age very much.
When the British came to Ibo land, for instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, and defeated the men in pitched battles in different places, and set up their administrations, the men surrendered. And it was the women who led the first revolt.
The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery.
There's no lack of writers writing novels in America, about America. Therefore, it seems to me it would be wasteful for me to add to that huge number of people writing here when there are so few people writing about somewhere else.
When a tradition gathers enough strength to go on for centuries, you don't just turn it off one day.
What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens - whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender. — © Chinua Achebe
What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens - whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender.
In fact, I thought that Christianity was very a good and a very valuable thing for us. But after a while, I began to feel that the story that I was told about this religion wasn't perhaps completely whole, that something was left out.
I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.
The problem with leaderless uprisings taking over is that you don't always know what you get at the other end. If you are not careful you could replace a bad government with one much worse!
I was a supporter of the desire, in my section of Nigeria, to leave the federation because it was treated very badly with something that was called genocide in those days.
I've had trouble now and again in Nigeria because I have spoken up about the mistreatment of factions in the country because of difference in religion. These are things we should put behind us.
Many writers can't make a living. So to be able to teach how to write is valuable to them. But I don't really know about its value to the student. I don't mean it's useless. But I wouldn't have wanted anyone to teach me how to write.
I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.
But I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.
People from different parts of the world can respond to the same story if it says something to them about their own history and their own experience.
When I began going to school and learned to read, I encountered stories of other people and other lands.
When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.
My position is that serious and good art has always existed to help, to serve, humanity. Not to indict. I don't see how art can be called art if its purpose is to frustrate humanity.
I'm a practised writer now. But when I began, I had no idea what this was going to be. I just knew that there was something inside me that wanted me to tell who I was, and that would have come out even if I didn't want it.
Oh, the most important thing about myself is that my life has been full of changes. Therefore, when I observe the world, I don't expect to see it just like I was seeing the fellow who lives in the next room.
Democracy is not something you put away for ten years, and then in the 11th year you wake up and start practicing again. We have to begin to learn to rule ourselves again.
Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it's far removed from your situation. This is what I try to tell my students: this is one great thing that literature can do - it can make us identify with situations and people far away.
When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.
Stories serve the purpose of consolidating whatever gains people or their leaders have made or imagine they have made in their existing journey thorough the world.
Nigera is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be.
A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.
I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you don't see, who's very far away, who's a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.
People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.
I think an artist, in my definition of that word, would not be someone who takes sides with the emperor against his powerless subjects. That's different from prescribing a way in which a writer should write.
I don't care about age very much. I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.
Americans, it seems to me, tend to protect their children from the harshness of life, in their interest. — © Chinua Achebe
Americans, it seems to me, tend to protect their children from the harshness of life, in their interest.
The most important thing about myself is that my life has been full of changes. Therefore, when I observe the world, I don't expect to see it just like I was seeing the fellow who lives in the next room.
My parents were early converts to Christianity in my part of Nigeria. They were not just converts; my father was an evangelist, a religious teacher. He and my mother traveled for thirty-five years to different parts of Igboland, spreading the gospel.
Nigeria has had a complicated colonial history. My work has examined that part of our story extensively.
The damage done in one year can sometimes take ten or twenty years to repair.
Art is man's constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.
An artist, in my understanding of the word, should side with the people against the Emperor that oppresses his or her people.
People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that's the time to do something about it, not when it's around your neck.
They have not always elected the best leaders, particularly after a long period in which they have not used this facility of free election. You tend to lose the habit.
Presidents do not go off on leave without telling the country.
A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership. — © Chinua Achebe
A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership.
The people you see in Nigeria today have always lived as neighbors in the same space for as long as we can remember. So it's a matter of settling down, lowering the rhetoric, the level of hostility in the rhetoric is too high.
Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am - and what I need - is something I have to find out myself.
If you only hear one side of the story, you have no understanding at all.
The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.
Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life.
The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably 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.
Become familiar with your home, but know also about your neighbors. The young man who never went anywhere thinks his mother is the greatest cook.
In dealing with a man who thinks you are a fool, it is good sometimes to remind him that you know what he knows but have chosen to appear foolish for the sake of peace.
There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.
We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n'ani ji onwe ya: 'He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.'
A man of worth never gets up to unsay what he said yesterday.
A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own 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.
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