Things Fall Apart And A Doll's House

2325 words - 10 pages

Women have frequently been viewed as inferior to men throughout human history. This theme can be explored through works of literature and examples can be found in cultures of the past and present. In fact, there are many seemingly different cultures that share that one major similarity: the oppression and subjugation of women. Upon reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, it becomes clear that the primary reason for the abuse of women is the common cultural belief that women are secondary to men. This conclusion is further justified after reading A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. Throughout history, many cultures have been heavily masculine based. There are countless examples of men wielding power over women.When women are no more than second class citizens at best, and slaves at worst, there are consequences. Women find themselves in terrible situations and suffer a variety of abuses. As a result of masculine based cultures, women have been and continue to be unfairly oppressed, as exemplified in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and the play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.
In many masculine based societies, women find themselves in the unfortunate position of enduring the punishments that should go to the men in their lives. Within the Igbo culture described in Things Fall Apart, men must give up their wives in payment for their crimes. In extreme cases, an innocent virgin could lose her life in payment for a crime she did not commit. When the wife of one of the clansmen in Umuofia is murdered at the market, a virgin is given as compensation, and the elders of the village decide that, “the girl should go to Ogbuefi Udo to replace his murdered wife” (Achebe 12). The girl herself was not at fault, but she was used as payment for a crime committed by a man in her village. One day she disappears and is never heard from again, leaving the firm implication that not only did she have to abandon her family, but sacrifice her life as well. Women have been punished for men’s crimes in other cultures as well. In Ancient Assyria, when a woman was raped, the rapist was forced to compensate by handing over his own wife to the husband of his victim to be used however he pleased (Taylor). Women are used as payment for the crimes of men, and like the innocent virgin who was murdered by the people of Umuofia, they suffer the consequences of uncaring men. In masculine based societies, men are under the misguided assumption that it’s acceptable to use women as a sort of perverse form of currency.
In societies where men are perceived to be above women, women suffer many physical abuses, such as beatings. In such cultures, there is nothing the women can do about it, and men face no punishment. When Okonkwo blames one of his wives for killing a tree, although it remained alive,“Without further argument, Okonkwo gave her a sound beating and left her and her only daughter weeping. Neither of the other wives dared to interfere beyond an occasional and...

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