Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Women's Roles in Umuofian Society

Better Essays
Literature and Liberation- Prof. Sicari
December 3rd, 2012

Women’s Role in Umuofian Society

Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” depicts the downfall of the once great tribe of Umuofia at the hands of imperialistic European white men. However the downfall of this advanced tribe would come to be inevitable due to its numerous flaws, in terms of their “justice” system, extreme religious interpretations of the Oracle and perhaps most heavily because of their intensely misogynistic views. Umuofia’s harsh and brutal treatment of women in their society reveal the fact that women are not acknowledged to even be human, much rather they are treated as possessions – as property. Men believe women to be powerless, defenseless and
…show more content…
The woman’s brothers justify their actions in stating that Uzowulu beat their sister mercilessly. They state that Uzowulu’s punishment if Mgbafo returns with him will be that his genitals be cut off if he ever beats her again. Uzowulu claims that he sees no wrong in his ways, “I married her with my money and my yams, I owe them no cocoyams” (p.90) is his defense. He feels as though he owes his in laws no explanation and how he treats his wife is no ones concern. This statement proves that he views his wife as just another possession of his, he paid the price and he can do as he pleases with her from that point forward. The egwugwu decide in favor of Mgbafo, telling Uzowulu to take a pot of wine to his in-laws. One village elder complains that such a minimal matter should not be brought before them, again exposing the fact that domestic abuse is not seen as an issue in this society. In Umuofia, there are two types of crimes that can be committed, feminine crimes and masculine crimes. Okonkwo accidentally kills a clansman during a funeral, this crime falls under the category of feminine because it wasn’t a killing on purpose – “Okonkwo had committed the female, because it had been inadvertent.” (p. 124). In categorizing crimes under these two types the reader receives insight as to what characteristics pertain to each gender in the eyes of this society. Feminine crimes are accidental, without intent,
Get Access