things fall apart, end of chapter 17
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"He sighed heavily, and as if in sympathy the smouldering log also sighed. And immediately Okonkwo's eyes were opened and he saw the whole matter clearly. Living fire begets cold, impotent ash. He sighed again, deeply."
Here Okonkwo considers that a man with such intensity and fire as he, begets (has children) that are weak like the ash from the fire.