Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" A Discussion Of Achebe's Portrayal Of Women In Igbo Society.

1177 words - 5 pages

Chinua Achebe's first novel Things Fall Apart is a story about an Igbo village in the late 1800's, and is one of its important men, Okonkwo. The story analyzes the destruction of African culture when the white man appeared. Achebe writes in a style that is interpretive instead of objective, and reflects the sociocultural organization existing in Africa during that era. Achebe highlights the roles of women in pre-colonial Africa. The female characters in the novel are major figures whose lives are not just affected by the desires of their husbands or fathers; the women reciprocally affect the husband and fathers lives. Igbo society emphasis is put on sex-roles, stereotyping, gender discrimination and the importance of masculinity and violence, which result in the abuse of the female's character.In Igbo society patriarchy rules in every aspect of existence, meaning women are excluded and men are superior. Women were seen as men's property and wives came in multiple numbers. Women were bought and sold into marriage and once she became a man's property she became a little more than an object. The first wife of a man was paid more respect than others illustrated by the palm wine ceremony. Anasi, Nwakibie's [a big man in Umofia] first wife had not arrived and "the others could not drink before her" (14).Women were among one of the highest distinctions for a young man along with yam barns and social titles. Okoye, a friend of Okonkwo's father, qualified for these high distinctions because "he had a large barn full of yams and he had three wives. And now he was going to take the Idemili title, the third highest in the land." (5).The yam symbolizes richness and is a sign of a great man. The women of Igbo provided the workforce to harvest yams as well as tend to animals and nurture children. Therefore a wealthy man has many wives and a plentiful crop of yams. The coco-yam was seen as feminine because of their smaller size and lesser value contributing to the poor value placed on women.Women were to be seen and not heard and were supposed to fetch water, kola and foofoo for the men. Other important roles of women were to paint the houses of the egwugwu the masked spirits who represented the ancestral spirits if the village. Women were surprisingly found important in the survival of the community and societal norms. Women were primary educators and through story telling they educated the children about social values, relationships and the human condition. During discussions and councils of war women were not allowed to be around men. This was evident when the unnoticed woman was acknowledged only when the ceremony was described, "It was clear from the way the crowd stood or sat that the ceremony was for men. There were many women, but they looked on from the fringe like outsiders." (62).Okonkwo's tragic flaw was that he lived in a culture that required a balance between "masculine" and "feminine" that he refused to take note of. Okonkwo was most afraid of...

Find Another Essay On Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" A discussion of Achebe's portrayal of women in Igbo society.

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

1413 words - 6 pages Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart The last chapter of Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" concludes with the sentence: "He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger." This refers to the District Commissioner's chosen title for a book he has written that would have the African people, the Igbo tribe specifically, as the main subject. From the title itself

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

1067 words - 5 pages elderly. Although the social structure played an essential role in balancing life in the society, it played a more significant role in the demise of the Igbo community. Because of their rigid structure, the people isolated the osu, or the outcasts, outside their society. Due to their actions, this led the osu to convert to the new religion. The Igbo people were not able to cooperate with the new religion that was imposed upon them and eventually led to the rise of disunity.   Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: William Heinemann Limited, 1959. Print.

Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"

947 words - 4 pages INTRODUCTION:Chinua Achebe has penned the book "Things Fall Apart" as retaliation against the Western books portraying African cultures and tribal religions as brutal, savage and animalistic. He attempts to portray through his book that the people of the African Igbo tribe are not savages or mindless tribals, they are a people with a history and a culture and a well thought out way of life. He also tries to give a realistic portrayal of the Igbo

Essay on the Role of Women in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1852 words - 7 pages The Role of Women in Things Fall Apart       Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart explores the struggle between old traditions within the Igbo community as well as Christianity and "the second coming" it brings forth. While on the surface, it appears the novel narrows its focus to a single character, Okonkno and his inner battles, one can read deeper into the text and find an array of assorted conflicts in the realm on human vs. human, human

Existentialism in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1779 words - 7 pages Existentialism in Things Fall Apart          Chinua Achebe presents his audience with an interesting twist to a contemporary school of thought in his work Things Fall Apart.  This post-colonization narrative incorporates several traits that revolt against normative philosophic systems and tralititious theories and beliefs of the existence of man and his place in the universe.  Achebe's efforts are characterized by a small diverse

Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

963 words - 4 pages Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart    Okonkwo, as presented by Chinua Achebe in the novel Things Fall Apart, wished to be revered by all as a man of great wealth, power and control--the antithesis of his father. Okonkwo was driven by the need to exhibit utmost control over himself and others; he was an obsessive and insecure man. Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was "a failure," "a loafer," and "People laughed at him" (1426). This

Gender in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1920 words - 8 pages contradictions in relation to Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Above all the tribe values physical prowess, it places a great deal of importance on individual achievement, these attributes are in fact intended to ensure the security and permanence of the group. For like most early societies this is a society that is dominated by a passion for survival. Umofia therefore cultivates the notion of the heroic ideal based on physical prowess. The

Essay on Brutalities of African Society in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1025 words - 4 pages Brutalities of African Society Exposed in Things Fall Apart      David Carroll writes, of the novel Things Fall Apart, "This incident is not only a comment on Okonkwo's heartlessness. It criticizes implicitly the laws he is too literally implementing..." (Carroll) The incident that David Carroll refers to is the death of Ikemefuna. Ikemefuna was a young boy who was handed over to the village of Umuofia as compensation for the murder of one

The Loss of a Tribe's Livelihood in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1572 words - 6 pages Things Fall Apart: The Loss of a Tribe's Livelihood   In Things Fall Apart we witnessed the destruction of a traditional native culture. More specifically we witnessed the challenge and weakening of Igbo spirituality, as well as the death of the tribe's livelihood. The apparent cause can be found in a seemingly good intended mission acting as a gateway for the intrusion of a foreign government, and its quest to conquer and domesticate a

Women in Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1553 words - 7 pages In Things Fall Apart, Achebe explains the pre-colonial African woman’s role in Ibo society. He presents women as a sadly oppressed group with no power. Even in these circumstances, women play the most important role of all. The relationship between males and females in this novel is masculine-based. Men with no title are compared to being a woman (representing weakness) and given no respect. Men are expected to control and rule their

Chinua Achebe's tragic work "Things Fall Apart"

1189 words - 5 pages Throughout time, women have been oppressed and had to struggle in severaldifferent places and throughout all different time periods; female suffering over time,has become a hot topic of examination and argument. Both Chinua Achebe's tragic workThings Fall Apart, as well as the article "Women in Achebe's World" written by feministprofessor and literary critic Rose Ure Mezu, examine the intricate roles both men andwomen play in society. While

Similar Essays

Achebe's Portrayal Of Women In Igbo Society

2603 words - 10 pages Chinua Achebe's first novel "Things Fall Apart" is a story about an Igbo village in the late 1800's. In the story, Achebe depicts women in Igbo society as a sadly oppressed group with no power. Women of the Igbo tribe were terribly mistreated, and had no respect outside their role as being a mother or a wife. In the novel, the author "analyzes the destruction of African culture by the appearance of the white man in terms of the destruction of

The Role Of Women In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

3673 words - 15 pages More than those of any other African writer, Chinua Achebe’s writings have helped to develop what is known as African literature today. And the single book which has helped him to launch his "revolution" is the classic, Things Fall Apart.  The focus of this essay includes: 1) Achebe's portraiture of women in his fictional universe, the existing sociocultural situation of the period he is depicting, and the factors in it that condition male

Analysis Of Achebe's Impartiality In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1116 words - 4 pages educationally has the means to convey a different perspective, an advantage most other individuals of his culture lack.  In his novel Things Fall Apart, rather than glorifying the Ibo culture, or even offering a new view, Achebe acts as a pipeline for information to flow freely without partiality.  Achebe's parents were among the first converts of the Igbo, which has exposed him to both the Igbo African culture and western Christian ideology, and

The Character Of Okonkwo In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1942 words - 8 pages The Character of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart What makes a successful man? This, in itself, is a culture bound question because it can vary from culture to culture. However, in the perception of Okonkwo, the main character in Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, the measure of a man's success is based on two elements, material acquisition and growth, and physical prowess. This is ironic for Okonkwo since