The Lion and the Jewel: Important quotes with page
1. “That is what the stewpot said to the fire. Have you no shame—at your age licking my bottom? But she was tickled just the same. ” (Act One, p. 2) Lakunle says this to Sidi, indicating that pleasure or pain can and will still be experienced despite the shame it might bring to people. In another sense, one person’s shame is another person’s pleasure.
2. “For that, what is a jewel to pigs? If I am misunderstood by you and your race of savages, I rise above taunts and remain unruffled. ” (Act One, p. 3) The quote foreshadows the importance of the “jewel” in relation to those things around it, a relationship that ultimately leads to Sidi being tricked by the Bale. The quote also highlights the disgust Lakunle has for his own people, as he thinks them backward and primitive.
3. “No, don’t! I tell you I dislike this strange unhealthy mouthing you perform. ” (Act One, p. 9) Lakunle kisses Sidi. Her disapproval indicates just how traditional the village of Ilujinle is as kissing is a Western (i. e. , “modern”) concept of love and courtship.
4. “A-ah Mister Lakunle. Without these things you call nonsense, a Bale’s life would be pretty dull. ” (Act One, p. 17) Lakunle dismisses the Bale’s duties as childish and a waste of time, but the Bale indicates that these traditions are what give the Bale his power.
5. “Ah, Sadiku, the school-man here has taught me certain things and my images have taught me all the rest. Baroka merely seeks to raise his manhood above my beauty …” (Act Two, p. 21) Sidi shows her naivete here as she indicates that she can understand Baroka fully based on what the pictures show of her beauty, and Lakunle’s words, have “taught” her.
6. “Can you deny that every woman who has supped with him one night, becomes his wife or concubine the next? ” (Act Two, p. 23) Sidi reveals telling information about Baroka. She has been asked to dinner yet knows that every woman before her who has gone to dinner with the Bale has somehow become Baroka’s wife or concubine, thereby lending credence to tales of his craftiness.
7. “He loves this life too well to bear to part from it. And motor roads and railways would do just that, forcing civilization at his door. ” (Act Two, p. 25) Lakunle explains how Ilujinle was on the brink of modernization when Baroka interceded for vain, personal reasons, thereby highlighting how tradition won out over modernization in this instance.
8. “The time has come when I can fool myself no more. I am no man, Sadiku. My manhood ended near a week ago. ” (Act Two, p. 29) The Bale plants this lie to Sadiku, a lie which will ultimately bring about Sidi’s downfall.
9. “I wanted Sidi because I still hoped—a foolish thought, I know, but still—I hoped that, with a virgin young and hot within, my failing strength would rise and save my pride. ” (Act Two, p. 29) This clever quote highlights the depths of Baroka’s cunning. He likens himself to a lion who needs Sidi to save his people, his pride.
10. “So, we did for you, too did we? We did for you in the end … we women undid you in the end. ” (Act Three, p. 32) Though bemoaning the Bale’s impotence in the previous chapter, Sadiku reveals that she is in fact elated at his impotence. Sadiku is proud that women have brought about the downfall of “male power” through impotence.
11. “Take warning, my masters, we’ll scotch you in the end. ” (Act Three, p. 32) Sadiku’s chant underscores that true power lies with women. It also suggests that in any relationship of power, the oppressed will eventually gain the upper hand.
12. “Baroka is no child you know, he will know I have betrayed him. ” (Act Three, pp. 34-35) Everyone seems to believe Baroka’s cunning except for Sidi. Sadiku warns her here, but Sidi is unfazed and runs off to her ruin.
13. “Why don’t you do what other men have done. ” (Act Three, p. 36) Sadiku taunts Lakunle, and in asking this of him, she both emasculates him by suggesting he is not a man and highlights his refusal to give in to tradition.
14. “We must live modern with the rest or live forgotten by the world. ” (Act Three, p. 37) Lakunle paints tradition and modernization as either-or states of being. For him, the fate of Ilujinle is tied to its embracing modernity and abandoning its traditions.
15. “Ah, I forget. This is the price I pay once every week, for being progressive. ” (Act Three, p. 38) Baroka views the adoption of progressive customs, like giving workers a day off, as something cruel he must suffer or pay for. Modernization is a painful ordeal for him.
16. “The woman gets lost in the woods one day and every wood deity dies the next. ” (Act Three, p. 42) Baroka makes fun of Sidi for breaking into his house and possibly causing him to lose a wrestling match by citing a quote about ruin at the hands of womankind. It suggests that women are always the cause of calamity.
17. “If the tortoise cannot tumble it does not mean that he can stand. ” (Act Three, p. 42) Sidi makes fun of Baroka, suggesting that just because he is adept or skillful, he is not necessarily without weaknesses.
18. “There must be many men who build their loft to fit your height. ” (Act Three, p. 43) Though seemingly praising Sidi, Baroka also suggests that Sidi is unattainable due to her vanity, and that she places herself above others.
19. “This means nothing to me of course. Nothing! But I know the ways of women, and I know their ruinous tongues. ” (Act Three, pp. 45-46) Baroka’s comment foreshadows the fact that he knows all along that Sadiku will tell his “secret,” causing a ruinous act.
20. “The Fox is said to be wise so cunning that he stalks and dines on new- hatched chickens. ” (Act Three, p. 46) Sidi’s comment underscores what is truly taking place in the scene, for she is the young chicken and the Bale is the fox. It underscores her naivete, as she should have known she would not be able to outfox the Bale.
21. “One way the world remains the same, the child still thinks she is wiser than the cotton head of age. ” (Act Three, p. 48) The Bale practically admits that Sidi is a child and he is the “cotton head. ” The Bale is wise to Sidi’s taunts, though she is unable to decipher his.
22. “I lose my patience only when I meet with the new immodesty with women. Now, my Sidi, you have not caught this new and strange disease, I hope. ” (Act Three, p. 49) Baroka again states his dislike of women thinking they are the equal of men. His comments taunt Sidi, though she is unable to read them as such.
23. “The proof of wisdom is the wish to learn even from children. And the haste of youth must learn its temper from the gloss of ancient leather … the school teacher and I, must learn one from the other. ” (Act Three, pp. 53-54) Though Baroka is tricking Sidi, he speaks truth here. Baroka says that youth and old age must learn from one another, just as tradition and modernity must work together.
24. “But the monkey sweats, my child, the monkey sweats, it is only the hair upon his back which still deceives the world. ” (Act Three, p. 54) A powerful comment by Baroka who is, again, deceiving Sidi. The comment rings true, however, as it suggests that animals and humans are capable of suffering despite what can be seen by the naked eye.
25. “A man must live or fall by his true principles. ” (Act Three, p. 61) Lakunle highlights a main theme of the play here. Whether one believes in the power of youth or old age, of tradition or modernity—or the comingling of the two—mankind must stick to its principles if it is to progress.