What are proverbs?

My tidy home




Proverbs play very important roles in different types of literary works. The most important function of proverbs is to teach and educate the audience. They often contain expert advice, with a role for educating the readers on what they may face if they do something. Hence, proverbs play a didactic role, as they play a universal role in teaching wisdom and sagacity to the common people. Since proverbs are usually metaphorical and indirect, they allow writers to express their messages in a less harsh way.




Proverbs in Literature

Example #1: Things Fall Apart (By Chinua Achebe)

“If a child washes his hands he could eat with kings.”

Meaning: If you remove the dirt of your ancestors, you can have a better future. Everyone can build his or her own fame.

“A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing.”

Meaning: Everything happens for a reason, and for something, not for nothingness.

“A child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam which its mother puts into its palm.”

Meaning: Children who obey their mothers are not punished.

Example #2: Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)

“The weakest goes to the wall.”

Meaning: Weak people are never favored.

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