We Need New Names Quotes

We shout and we shout and we shout; we want to eat the thing she was eating; we want to hear our voices soar; we want our hunger to go away.

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We Need New Names Hardcover
We Need New Names Hardcover
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  1. “Is it a boy or a girl? It’s a boy. The first baby is supposed to be a boy. But you’re a girl, big head, and you’re first-born. I said supposed, didn’t I?” (Page: 5)
  2. “We shout and we shout and we shout; we want to eat the thing she was eating; we want to hear our voices soar; we want our hunger to go away. The woman just looks at us puzzled, like she has never heard anybody shout, and then quickly hurries back into the house but we shout after her, shout till we smell blood in our tickling throats.” (Page:12)
  3. After the curtain comes the calendar; it’s old but Mother of Bones keeps it since it has Jesus Christ on it. He has women’s hair and is smiling shyly; his head tilted a bit to the side; you can tell he really wanted to look nice in the picture. He used to have blue eyes but I painted them brown like mine and everybody’s, to make him normal. Mother of Bones walloped me so much for it though, I couldn’t sit for a whole two days. (Page:25)
  4. “To play country-game you need two rings: a big outer one, then inside it, a little one, where the caller stands… Each person then picks a piece and writes the name of the country on there, which is why it’s called country-game.” (Page: 51)
  5. “But first we have to fight over the names because everybody wants to be certain countries, like everybody wants to be the U.S.A and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and France and Italy and Sweden and Germany and Russian and Greece.” (Page:51)
  6. “Nobody wants to be the rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti, like Sri Lanka, and not even this one we live in, who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?” (Page:51)
  7. “They just like taking pictures, these NGO people, like maybe we are their real friends and relatives …They don’t care that we are embarrassed by our dirt and torn clothing, that we would prefer they didn’t do it; they just take the pictures anyway, take and take. We don’t complain because we know that after the picture-taking comes the giving of gifts.” (Page: 546)
  8. “He coughs some more and I listen to the awful sound tearing the air. His body folds and rocks with each cough but I don’t even feel for him… In my head I’m thinking, Die. Die now so I can go play with my friends, die now because this is not fair. Die die die die.” (Page: 98)
  9. “No, you listen, the white man says, like he didn’t just hear the boss warn him about telling black men to listen. I am an African, he says. This is my fucking country too, my father was born here, I was born here, just like you! His voice is so full of pain it’s as if there is something that is searing him deep in his blood…What exactly is an African? Godknows asks.” (Page:121)
  10. “Look at them leaving in droves despite knowing they will be welcomed with restraint in those strange lands because they do not belong, knowing they will have to sit on one buttock because they must not sit comfortably lest they be asked to rise and leave, knowing they will speak in dampened whispers because they must not let their voices drown those of the owners of the land, knowing they will have to walk on their toes because they must not leave footprints on the new earth lest they be mistaken for those who want to claim the land as theirs. Look at them leaving in droves, arm in arm with loss and lost, look at them leaving in droves.” (Page: 148)
  11. “If I were at home, I know I would not be standing around because something called snow was preventing me from going outside to live life… But then we wouldn’t be having enough food, which is why I will stand being in America dealing with the snow; there is food to eat here, all types and types of food. There are times, though, that no matter how much food I eat, I find the food does nothing for me, like I am hungry for my country and nothing is going to fix that.” (Page: 155)
  12. “You are not the one suffering. You think watching on BBC mean you know what is going on? No, you don’t, my friend, it’s the wound that knows the texture of the pain; it’s us who stayed here feeling the real suffering, so it’s us who have a right to even say anything about that or anything and anybody, she says… If it’s your country, you have to love it, to live in it, and not leave it. You have to fight for it no matter what, to make it right.” (Page: 287-8)

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