The Forest People: Important quotes with page
1. “But these are the feelings of outsiders, of those who do not belong to the forest. If you are of the forest it is a very different place. ” (Chapter 1, p. 12) The quote highlights the separation between the BaMbuti, who are of the forest, and the villagers, who are not.
2. “The world of the forest is a closed, possessive world, hostile to all those who do not understand it. ” (Chapter 1, p. 13) The forest is viewed as both hostile and accepting. It accepts those who rightfully respect it and understand it, and rejects those who do not.
3. “The BaMbuti roam the forest at will … they have no fear, because for them there is no danger. ” (Chapter 1, p. 14) Many people think the forest is evil and filled with danger. The quote highlights that danger and evil are mostly mindsets.
4. “Pygmies were decreased to the point where they were thought of as mythical creatures, semi human, flying about in the tree tops, dangling by their tails, and with the power of making themselves invisible. ” (Chapter 1, p. 16) The quote illustrates just how farfetched the views of Pygmies had become, likening them to mythical creatures.
5. “This was the worst possible news; once the Pygmies have plantations their hunting-and-gathering existence is made impossible. They become tied to one place and do not have time to follow the game. ” (Chapter 2, p. 32) Turnbull shows how the Pygmies’ lives revolve around hunting as a full-time job. The villages are places where Pygmy culture is destroyed.
6. “But when someone really dies, for ever, there is among the Pygmies a burst of uncontrollable grief. ” (Chapter 2, p. 42) Sickness has different levels, and the Pygmies recognize death as such. Everyone is saddened by the death of an individual.
7. “To the Negroes the forest is the place for the spirits of the dead; they must be kept away from the village at all costs. ” (Chapter 2, pp. 43-44) The villagers depict the forest as a place of myth and magic. It is an area that they avoid due to its mysteriousness.
8. “The Pygmy is not in the least self-conscious about showing his emotions; he likes to laugh until tears come to his eyes and he is too weak to stand. ” (Chapter 3, p. 56) Turnbull shows an intimate side of Pygmies by relating how emotion plays a large role in their everyday existence.
9. “The Molimo of the Pygmies is not concerned with ritual or magic. ” (Chapter 3, p. 80) Contrary to popular belief, the Pygmies do not concern themselves with magic or ritual like romanticized accounts might suggest.
10. “I realized that Ausu was right. It was the sound [of the molimo] that mattered. ” (Chapter 3, p. 81) Turnbull finds himself guilty of romanticism and realizes that the sound of the molimo and the thought in the hearts of the Pygmies is what matters.
11. “I had not realized quite so clearly that this was what the molimo was all about. It was as though the nightly chorus were an intimate communion between a people and their god, the forest. ” (Chapter 3, p. 92) The molimo is revealed to be a conversation between the Pygmies and their god, the forest, showing that the molimo is far from empty ritual.
12. “Disputes were generally settled with little reference to the alleged rights and wrongs of the case, but chiefly with the intention of restoring peace to the community. ” (Chapter 6, p. 118) The important thing for the Pygmies is that balance and peace are restored. Guilt and culpability take backseat to the need for order.
13. “The Pygmies have a saying that a noisy camp is a hungry camp. ” (Chapter 6, p. 120) The Pygmies need order and peace to ensure they can hunt and not scare away the animals with their noise.
14. “The forest destroyed everything but its own. Only against the machine age, which had barely reached it, it was powerless. ” (Chapter 9, p. 167) Turnbull hints that the machine age can in fact destroy the forest. Yet the forest is absolute in terms of everything else.
15. “To the villagers the dead, the ancestors, are just as important as the living, and in many ways more so; only those who are initiated will join the ancestors when they die. ” (Chapter 12, p. 218) The villagers view the living and dead as connected, and much of their belief system centers on maintaining this connection. This connection is strange to the Pygmies.
16. “They behaved as they did because to them the restrictions were not only meaningless but belonged to a hostile world. ” (Chapter 12, p. 224) The Pygmies recognize that the beliefs of the villagers would not be welcome in the forest. The villagers’ beliefs are part of an evil world, and so should stay in that world.
17. “Far from illustrating the dependence of the Pygmies upon the villagers, the nkumbi illustrates better than anything else the complete opposition of the forest to the village. ” (Chapter 12, p. 227) This quote ties into the previous one showing that the beliefs that define the nkumbi for the villagers are completely at odds with the beliefs of the Pygmies who will always return to the forest.
18. ‘“The villagers call him Mulefu, because he is tall,’ [Kenge] said, ‘but we call him Ebamunyama, because his father killed a buffalo, and he hunts with us in our forest. ’” (Chapter 13, p. 236) Turnbull is easily accepted by the BaMbuti — not only does he love he forest, his father is considered a great hunter.
19. [The Pygmies] had little idea of what Christianity was, but from that moment I doubt if any of them thought that it had much to offer them. ” (Chapter 13, p. 247) Kenge and the other Pygmies at the Christian mission see that the missionary cares nothing for those who are not Christian, a telling lesson for them in belief and foreign religion.
20. ‘“It is good because the sky is clear and the ground is clean. It is good because I feel good; I feel as though I and the whole world were sleeping and dreaming. ’” (Chapter 14, p. 256) Kenge comments on the land away from the Epulu being good because of how he feels and thinks about it, again attesting to the Pygmies and their view on the goodness of the earth.
21. “When [Kenge] spoke all he said was, ‘The Pere Longo was right, this God must be the same as our God in the forest. It must be one God. ’” (Chapter 14, p. 258) Kenge makes an important connection between the benevolent God of the Catholics and the benevolent god of the forest.
22. “Old Moke summed up the attitude that I had found everywhere. ‘The forest is our home; when we leave the forest, or when the forest dies, we shall die. We are the people of the forest. ’” (Chapter 14, p. 260) Moke explains the lives of Pygmies perfectly by saying that they are so connected to the forest that when the forest dies they will die.
23. “‘But I’m not dancing alone,’ [Kenge] said. ‘I’m dancing with the forest, dancing with the moon. ’ Then, with the utmost concern, he ignored me and continued his dance of love and life. ” (Chapter 15, p. 272) Turnbull’s joke at the manly Kenge dancing alone is rebuffed by Kenge, showing a side of humanity that seems to be lost on the villagers and, in this instance, Turnbull.
24. “[B]ut there is something about the forest, not exactly threatening, but challenging, that dares you to travel alone … I knew what that challenge was, for to be alone was as though you were daring to look on the face of the great God of the Forest himself, so overpowering was the goodness and beauty of the world all around. ” (Chapter 15, p. 277) Turnbull attests to the power of the forest. He mentions how overpowering its goodness is, a power that is felt by each Pygmy, and a power that demands respect from those who enter and live in the forest.
25. “It echoes on and on, and it will still be there when our short lives are silenced … until, perhaps like us, it comes to rest in the deepest distance of some other world beyond … the dream world that is so real to the People of the Forest. ” (Chapter 15, p. 279) The dream world is synonymous with the reality of the forest. The dream world is a world that is seen by others as simple or lacking, yet is entirely real, entirely sufficient, and entirely efficient for the Pygmies.