Top 100

Top 200 Chinua Achebe Quotes (2023 Update)
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Chinua Achebe Quote: “One would think he never sucked at his mother’s breast.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “He is a fool who treats his brother worse than a stranger.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “The most awful thing about power is not that it corrupts absolutely but that it makes people so utterly boring, so predictable.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Real tragedy is never resolved. It goes on hopelessly forever. Conventional tragedy is too easy. The hero dies and we feel a purging of the emotions. A real tragedy takes place in a corner, in an untidy spot, to quote W. H. Auden. The rest of the world is unaware of it.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “What a man does not know is greater than he.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “My son even if you want to fall, at least fall where your bones can be gathered.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “The writer is often faced with two choices – turn away from the reality of life’s intimidating complexity or conquer its mystery by battling with it. The writer who chooses the former soon runs out of energy and produces elegantly tired fiction.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Contradictions if well understood and managed can spark off the fires of invention. Orthodoxy whether of the right or of the left is the graveyard of creativity.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Praise bounteous providence if you will that grants even an ogre a tiny glow-worm tenderness encapsulated in icy caverns of a cruel heart or else despair for in the very germ of that kindred love is lodged the perpetuity of evil.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “An artist in my view is always afraid of extremists; he is always afraid of those who claim to have found the ultimate solution to any question.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “That we are surrounded by deep mysteries is known to all but the incurably ignorant.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “There was another epidemic that was not talked about much, a silent scourge – the explosion of mental illness: major depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, manic-depression, personality disorders, grief response, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, etc. – on a scale none of us had ever witnessed.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “At the end of the thirty-month war Biafra was a vast smoldering rubble. The head count at the end of the war was perhaps three million dead, which was approximately 20 percent of the entire population.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “In the end I began to understand. There is such a thing as absolute power over narrative. Those who secure this privilege for themselves can arrange stories about others pretty much where, and as, they like. Just as in corrupt, totalitarian regimes, those who exercise power over others can do anything.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “You might as well say that the woman lies on top of the man when they are making the babies.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “People are wrong when they tell you that Conrad was on the side of Africans because his story showed great compassion towards them. Africans are not really served by his compassion, whatever it means; they ask for one thing alone – to be seen for what they are: human beings. Conrad pulls back from granting them this favour in Heart of Darkness.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “And now the rains had really come, so heavy and persistent that even the village rain-maker no longer claimed to be able to intervene. He could not stop the rain now, just as he would not attempt to start it in the heart of the dry season, without serious danger to his own health. The personal dynamism required to counter the forces of these extremes of weather would be far too great for the human frame.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “The emperor would prefer the poet to keep away from politics, the emperor’s domain, so that he can manage things the way he likes.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “And theories are no more than fictions which help us to make sense of experience and which are subject to disconfirmation when their explanations are no longer adequate.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “It is the story that owns and directs us. It is the thing that makes us different from cattle; it is the mark on the face that sets one people apart from their neighbors.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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. There is this complexity which seems to me to be part of the meaning of existence and everything we value.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Presidents do not go off on leave without telling the country.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Igbo sayings and proverbs are far more valuable to me as a human being in understanding the complexity of the world than the doctrinaire, self-righteous strain of the Christian faith I was taught.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “I think writers are not only writers, they are also citizens.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Privilege, you see, is one of the great adversaries of the imagination; it spreads a thick layer of adipose tissue over our sensitivity.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “My people have a saying which my father often used. A man whose horse is missing will look everywhere even in the roof.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “I don’t care about age very much.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Ghana was a particularly relevant example for us subjects in the remaining colonies and dominions of the British Empire. There was a growing confidence, not just a feeling, that we would do just as well parting ways with Her Majesty’s empire. If Ghana seemed more effective, as some of our people like to say, perhaps it was because she was smaller in size and neat, as if it was tied together more delicately by well-groomed, expert hands.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “But let the slave who sees another cast into a shallow grave know that he will be buried in the same way when his day comes.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “The singer should sing well even if it is merely to himself, rather than dance badly for the whole world.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Serious and good art has always existed to help, to serve, humanity. Not to indict.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “If my enemy speaks the truth I will not say because it is spoken by my enemy I will not listen.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “If I write novels in a country in which most citizens are illiterate, who then is my community?”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “The poor of the world may be guilty of this and that particular fault or foolishness, but if we are fair we will admit that nothing they have done or left undone quite explains all the odds we see stacked up against them. We are sometimes tempted to look upon the poor as so many ne’er-do-wells we can simply ignore. But they will return to haunt our peace, because they are greater than their badge of suffering, because they are human.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “What kind of power was it if it would never be used?”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “Ghana and Nigeria resented each other and competed for supremacy in every sphere – politics, academia, sports, you name it.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “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.”
Chinua Achebe Quote: “An artist, in my understanding of the word, should side with the people against the Emperor that oppresses his or her people.”
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