Memorable Quotes from Elechi Amadi’s The Slave

"Olu, someone said, 'you are the quiet dog that eats up the hen's eggs.' How on earth did you get Adiba to call you Dede?" (Chapter 7)

The Slave by Elechi Amadi
The Slave by Elechi Amadi
  1. “She laughed. Olumati studied her. She was tall, less than half a head shorter than he was. Her buttocks promised to be prominent and trembled even now as she walked. Her breasts were cupped upwards. He thought they would need many children to suck them down. Her parents must be rich judging from the many coral beads hugging her waist, and the costly knee-length wrapper which just failed to cover the beautiful tattoo marks that were then in fashion.” (Chapter 1)
  2. “We have a matter of life and death on our hands. The survival of Aliji may well depend on what we decide here today. Let us not forsake a burning house to chase rats.” (Chapter 2)
  3. “Olumati slept little that night. How different this place was from the shrine where he had known peace. There, fighting and injustice were unknown. True, worshippers came often enough to demand the death of their enemies, but they had to prove their own innocence first.” (Chapter 3)
  4. “The beginning of Mgbede was a critical point. Many marriage negotiations were begun at that point. Both parties stood to gain. The prospective husbands would bear part of the costs of Mgbede, thus saving the parents of the girl much trouble. The husband would have plenty of time to woo and study his bride and to prepare his house to receive her.” (Chapter 4)
  5. “That is not true. It is the opposite. Small women are troublesome and difficult to manage. Anyway, a woman is always weaker than her man whether she is tall or short. You can give her a beating any time.” (Chapter 5)
  6. “Enaa’s imminent Mgbede was much talked about. Her parents though respectable and well off were not particularly notable. But Enaa herself, tall, black and beautiful stood out in her age group. She was perhaps not the most beautiful girl in her group but she was the most distinguished.” (Chapter 6)
  7. “Olu, someone said, ‘you are the quiet dog that eats up the hen’s eggs.’ How on earth did you get Adiba to call you Dede?” (Chapter 7)
  8. “Olumati walked home thoughtfully. Enaa was certainly desirable, very desirable. What bothered him was the strange feeling that he was knowing her less and less.” (Chapter 8)
  9. “Listen, even the ugliest girl usually has more than one suitor. Men don’t fight one another over things like that. If a man can’t marry one girl, he can always marry another.” (Chapter 9)
  10. “Just before burial, there was commotion in the room in which Nyege’s corpse lay. To Olumati’s consternation, a group of men seized the corpse, brought it out of the room and raced away with it. The older men and women did not seem to bother.” (Chapter 10)
  11. “Ovunda, you are bothering me. The quarrel between Okani and Echela is not of my making; I grew up and met it. Echela members are unyielding, so we shall see it to the end.” (Chapter 11)
  12. “It is true that marriage is an affair between families, but that time is past when the man and woman involved were not expected to have a say.” (Chapter 12)
  13. “And don’t let her bother you about my loneliness and all that. I am a man. I can look after myself. I can cook well. Once in a while I can call at your house for a woman-cooked meal.” (Chapter 13)
  14. “A champion wrestler should not be merely strong; he should be handsome also. To achieve this perfection wrestlers went to much trouble. They plaited their hair and put on beads borrowed from their wives and sisters. Some had indigo elaborately painted on them along with chalk and camwood.” (Chapter 14)
  15. “It is true that you threw Aso in a fair match, but if he dies, you will still be required to carry out certain rites to wash his blood off you. Such rites are very expensive.” (Chapter 15)
  16. “The dibias had, after a feverish struggle, restored the power of movement to Aso’s legs. The pain in his back, though deep-seated, was subsiding. Aso could now sit propped up and Ajohia predicted that he would be on his legs in a few markets.” (Chapter 16)
  17. “I see you are yet learning to speak the Erekwi tongue. Well, when you are a carver, you learn to look at things closely, so you see more than other people. For instance, do you know what your ears look like?” (Chapter 17)
  18. “I don’t want to shame myself. Enaa is not the sort of girl to be given a shabby treatment.” (Chapter 18)
  19. “Ndem began to weep. Olumati released her hand gently from his shoulders and walked out. He feared he would cry too. As he strode about outside the welling tears subsided.” (Chapter 19)
  20. “When you feel like it, come over to my place for a chat and some palmwine. When a man is absent from the house, his worries tend to disappear also.” (Chapter 20)
  21. “Easily. You know, Olu, the man who cannot swallow his pride once in a while is a fool. Only God is in a position to behave like that.” (Chapter 21)
  22. “Gorgeously dressed and glistening in the evening sun Abaji scarcely looked human. He ran round the arena several times. After each round he rang his huge bell, studied his mirror and smiled. It was said that he always saw the result of a coming combating this mirror. If he was to win, as was usually the case, he would see the image of his victim lying on the ground.” (Chapter 22)
  23. “Many in Aliji are still not sure you are not a slave of Amadioha. I know you are not, but people are stubborn.” (Chapter 23)
  24. “Ovunda thought of going to the nearest house to fetch a firebrand, but that would be awkward. What explanation would he give to the astonished housewife? Fetching fire was for women and children in normal circumstances.” (Chapter 24)

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