Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

65 of the best book quotes from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  1. #1
    “But by far the worst thing we do to males — by making them feel they have to be hard — is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.”
  2. #2
    “We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likeable.”
  3. #3
    “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.”
  4. #4
    “Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.”
  5. #5
    “We police girls. We praise girls for virginity but we don’t praise boys for virginity (and it makes me wonder how exactly this is supposed to work out, since the loss of virginity is a process that usually involves two people of the opposite genders).”
  6. #6
    “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are.”
  7. #7
    “We teach girls shame. ‘Close your legs. Cover yourself.’ We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.”
  8. #8
    “And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls: You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him.”
  9. #9
    “Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.”
  1. #10
    “We teach females that in relationships, compromise is what a woman is more likely to do.”
  2. #11
    “I looked the word up in the dictionary, it said: Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. My great-grandmother, from stories I’ve heard, was a feminist. She ran away from the house of the man she did not want to marry and married the man of her choice. She refused, protested, spoke up when she felt she was being deprived of land and access because she was female. She did not know that word feminist. But it doesn’t mean she wasn’t one. More of us should reclaim that word. The best feminist I know is my brother Kene, who is also a kind, good-looking, and very masculine young man.”
  3. #12
    “Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change. But I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to remake themselves for the better.”
  4. #13
    “Our society teaches a woman at a certain age who is unmarried to see it as a deep personal failure. While a man at a certain age who is unmarried has not quite come around to making his pick. It is easy to say, ‘But women can just say no to all this.’ But the reality is more difficult, more complex. We are all social beings. We internalize ideas from our socialization.”
  5. #14
    “Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.”
  6. #15
    “I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to me is just as obvious to everyone else.”
  7. #16
    “‘You know, you’re a feminist.’ It was not a compliment. I could tell from his tone—the same tone with which a person would say, ‘You’re a supporter of terrorism.‘”
  8. #17
    ″ Things started to fall apart at home when my brother, Jaja, did not go to communion. ”
  9. #18
    “I knew that when the tea burned my tongue, it burned Papa’s love into me. ”

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  1. #19
    “We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew. ”
  2. #20
    “He was gracious, in the eager-to-please way that he always assumed with the ... white religious. ”
  3. #21
    “He was smiling ... He was smiling. ”
  4. #22
    “I meant to say I am sorry that Papa broke your figurines, but the words that came out were, ‘I’m sorry your figurines broke, Mama.’”
  5. #23
    “I was not sure what my laughter sounded like. ”
  6. #24
    “The painting ... represented something lost, something I had never had, would never have. ”
  7. #25
    “You could say anything at any time to anyone. ”
  8. #26
    ″ I did not even think to think what Mama needed to be forgiven for. ”
  9. #27
    “That’s a hibiscus, isn’t it, Aunty? ”
  1. #28
    “The old silence had broken and left us with the sharp pieces. ”
  2. #29
    “Silence hangs over us, but ... a different kind of silence, one that lets me breathe. ”
  3. #30
    “Being defiant can be a good thing sometimes. ”
  4. #31
    ″ It was hard to turn my head, but I did it and looked away. ”
  5. #32
    “We did not scale the rod because we ... could, we scaled it because we were terrified ... we couldn’t. ”
  6. #33
    “Morality, as well as the sense of taste, is relative.”
  7. #34
    “Something from God was happening there.”
  8. #35
    “When a house is on fire, you run out before the roof collapses on your head.”
  9. #36
    “Mama used to tell Jaja and me that God was undecided about what to send, rain or sun. We would sit in our rooms and look out at the raindrops glinting with sunlight, waiting for God to decide.”

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  1. #37
    ″ If you are not careful in this country, your children will become what you don’t know. ”
  2. #38
    “If you have braids, they will think you are unprofessional. ”
  3. #39
    “He felt a hollow space between himself and the person he was supposed to be. ”
  4. #40
    “Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change.”
  5. #41
    “Why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, yet we don’t teach boys to do the same?”
  6. #42
    “Some people ask: ‘Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?’ Because that would be ... a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”
  7. #43
    “The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes.”
  8. #44
    “What struck me – with her and with many other female American friends I have – is how invested they are in being ‘liked’. How they have been raised to believe that their being likeable is very important and that this ‘likeable’ trait is a specific thing. And that specific thing does not include showing anger or being aggressive or disagreeing too loudly.”
  9. #45
    “Gender matters everywhere in the world. And I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how we start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.”
  1. #46
    “My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”
  2. #47
    “I am trying to unlearn many lessons of gender I internalized while growing up. But I sometimes still feel vulnerable in the face of gender expectations.”
  3. #48
    “What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?”
  4. #49
    ″ He expected her to feel what she did not know how to feel. ”
  5. #50
    ″ I didn’t know I was even supposed to have issues until I came to America. ”
  6. #51
    “Are they between you and the sunset? ”
  7. #52
    “That was what Curt had given her, this gift of contentment, of ease. ”
  8. #53
    ″ When you make the choice to come to America, you become black. ”
  9. #54
    “These white people think that everybody has their mental problems. ”
  1. #55
    “You can’t write an honest novel about race in this country.”
  2. #56
    ″ I feel ... I have vegetables instead of ears, like large broccoli sticking out of my head. ”
  3. #57
    “I can’t believe it. My president is black like me. ”
  4. #58
    “She was no longer sure what was new in Lagos and what was new in herself. ”
  5. #59
    “Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanaian. America doesn’t care. So what if you weren’t ‘black’ in your country? You’re in America now.”
  6. #60
    “She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him: a self-affection. He made her like herself. With him, she was at ease; her skin felt as though it was her right size.”
  7. #61
    “She had won, indeed, but her triumph was full of air. Her fleeting victory had left in its wake a vast, echoing space, because she had taken on, for too long, a pitch of voice and a way of being that was not hers.”
  8. #62
    “They would not understand why people like him, who were raised well fed and watered but mired in dissatisfaction, conditioned from birth to look towards somewhere else, eternally convinced that real lives happened in that somewhere else, were now resolved to do dangerous things . . . none of them starving . . . but merely hungry for choice and certainty.”
  9. #63
    “She was inside this silence and she was safe. ”
  10. #64
    “You told him what he wasn’t but you didn’t tell him what he was.”
  11. #65
    “They have the kind of things we can eat. ”
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