It is praiseworthy to be brave and fearless, but sometimes it is better to be a coward. We often stand in the compound of a coward to point at the ruins where a brave man used to live.
This quote is from Chinua Achebe’s “Arrow of God”. It is uttered to Obika by his father. In the novel, Obika is a handsome young man who is admired for his looks, but is an arrogant drunkard who picks fights all the time. His dad was telling him this quote to point out that his attitude of ‘toughness’ would lead to his downfall.
Indeed, many people view doing dangerous things as a definition of braveness. There are many cases of teenagers trying to impress their peers by doing dangerous things. People have died, for example, trying to take the perfect selfies from the edge of cliffs. While such actions are brave, they are unnecessary risks because the rewards are futile. Such actions are being too brave.
Note: This interpretation is our opinion. We encourage you to agree, disagree, or provide an alternate interpretation.
ACHEBE, CHINUA. ARROW OF GOD. PENGUIN Books, 2017.