For several decades, females have been victims of sexism, violence and prejudice. Many cultures nationwide still display discrimination against women, especially in the Middle East and African culture. One book in particular Things Fall Apart, by Achebe portrays Igbo Society and examines masculinity from an African perspective. Throughout the novel, women were voiceless and struggled against injustice; which is set in the era of the first wave feminism. As most are aware, this period of history highlights the inequalities between females and males. A topic that has been analyzed by Chinu Acebe, Levine Nett, J.Case Tompkins, and other feminist theorists. Thus, this paper argues that feminist literary theory is a useful tool to analyze …show more content…
Domination and authority over women are reflected by the male characters in Things Fall Apart, specially the protagonist Okonkwo, as he oppresses his wives and overly abuse his power as the male dominator. At the beginning of the novel Okonkwo displayed, this trait as the monarch of the household “He ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children” (Acebe, 10). In the Igbo community men were the domineering sex and ruled over their families especially their wives. They treated their wives with disrespect and continuously let women live in fear. As stated above, males being more powerful than women limit woman capabilities and let them fear their husband. Throughout the book the author gives a clear idea that within the Igbo culture they live in a patriarchy society and as proven above the males continuously withhold this dominate role in their household.
Secondly, it is important to understand from a feminist point of view that the process of gender division is not equally distributed within male and female. Division of Labour is unjust among women and male, men holds the higher title such as the most work that women can do as equally as them. Feminist believed and predicted that division of labour kept women out of labour market altogether and assign jobs that they thought women can handle. Women roles
In the novel Things Fall Apart it states, “The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.” (Achebe 153). This quote conveys a negative tone in the word, “abomination” portraying the colonization and destruction of native people. This story focuses on the era of colonization/imperialism and in this quote the clash of cultures and its consequences is evident. The focus of the story is the head chief, Okonkwo, of an Igbo village tribe in Nigeria. It follows this “strong man,” Okonkwo, and his many heroic exploits and triumphs. In addition, it elaborates on his subsequent fall and expulsion from his tribal land. However, throughout this tale it is clearly evident that women were seen as
In most cultures an individual’s gender will influence their characterization. For instance, Ibo tribes in Africa classify people according to their gender. Women are thought as submissive individuals who are to some extent weaker than men. Men on the other hand are thought of as strong beings with much expected from them. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart strongly emphasizes on the categorization of masculinity and femininity in the society of Ibo tribes. Throughout the book, Okonkwo’s idea about masculinity situates him with respect to his community. In his community Okonkwo is greatly praised for his masculine traits. It is Okonkwo integration with masculinity that leads to him becoming an
In Things Fall Apart the Igbo society is dominated by gender roles. Husbands beat their wives just for bringing food a few minutes late. Women are completely discriminated against. In fact, it is an insult to call a man an agbala (a woman). To men, women exist in a world in which they are "to be seen not heard, coming and going, with mounds of foofoo, pots of water, market baskets, fetching kola, being scolded and beaten before they disappear behind the huts of their compound" (Mezu 2). However, the role of women is far more essential than the male villagers believe. Achebe repeatedly refers to the masculinity or femininity of a person. Though Achebe seems to believe that men seem to dominate relationships, in fact, there are many ways in
According to Achebe, the main character detested his father at a very young age, “Even as a little boy he had resented his father’s failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate had told him that his father was agbala.”(28) The Igbo tribe in Things Fall Apart uses the term an “agbala” which is used to describe “woman”. Okonkwo considered his father to be weak, effeminate, poor, disgraceful, and always in debt to his fellow tribes people. Okonkwo’s life revolves around the deep fear of becoming a failure and adopting the image of his father. Due to this self rooted perception of failure there are indications that he tries to rise above his father’s legacy.
The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, they emphasize on personal achievements, and taking titles which means leadership and respect (Ohadike Don C., p. xxvi-xxvii). In the book Things Fall Apart, the main character, Okonkwo is affected by the influences of the Igbo society and vows to become a man of the highest title and to gain respect from all the lands. Okonkwo and his family live in male dominant society where men are superior to women, therefore, Okonkwo thinks he is the owner of his household, and constantly beats his three wives and children. Okonkwo develops arrogant characteristics and a fear of being weak from the traditions of the society, and throughout the book he puts up a hard exterior and beats
In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo is viewed as a very masculine man. His view of masculinity brings him many downfalls and causes him to do things that are not reasonable. This view relates to that of important characters in the novel because he has taken the meaning of masculinity to seriously and brings it to a whole new level. The characters who are affected by this view are Nwoye, Ekwefi, and himself. To begin with, Okonkwo's view of masculinity affects many characters in this novel and one of those characters is his son, Nwoye.
Historically, women have been viewed as inferior to men due to a female's lack of physical strength. In the candid novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe clearly defines gender roles; women are the caretakers and cooks- simply existing to satisfy men’s desires. Although “Things Fall Apart portrays the women as weak ,inferior, and being put in their place by men; however, Achebe also notes their importance during several parts of the story. By incorporating powerful dialogues and scenes to develop gender conflicts, Achebe uses the completely divergent character of Okonkwo, who constantly strives to achieve manliness to demonstrate that although women in the Igbo society are important, they are not treated as such. Chinua Achebe, the author suggests that there is a constant conflict which exists between the two genders and the expectations of the roles in which each of them must play.
The major theme of Things Fall Apart is the different views of Okonkwo and his clan has regarding masculinity, as well as Okonkwo who shows hubris. Okonkwo is a fierce warrior who is famous throughout his clan and known to speak out his mind freely without any ridicule. In Igbo culture, to be called a woman, is the lowest title a man can receive. A man known by no titles contradicts with what Okonkwo says during a meeting for the ancestral feast, in which Okonkwo rebukes(or challenges) the man's authority. Okonkwo utters an insult, "This meeting is for men," Okonkwo knew how to bring the man's spirit down. Okonkwo's clan perceives a man without titles, a woman and therefore do not have the right to speak out with men. While, Okonkwo sees masculinity
The novel Things Fall Apart took place in the Igbo Society-the part of the world that has very strict views on gender roles, but not just gender roles. It is likely that every individual in the Igbo society viewed or defined masculinity differently. To some, masculinity was expressed through anger and violence; to others, masculinity was expressed through a man’s responsibility. These different views on masculinity can create conflicts and can therefore impact individual's life. In the novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo and Obierika different interpretations of masculinity led them to a different life and such intention was successfully introduced through Achebe’s uses of foil characters.
In the more traditional aspect of Igbo life, being womanly was seen as an extreme weakness, hinting at the idea that being a woman was not good enough. This shows us that women were not highly looked upon in society. They were expected to simply grow up and become a wife, seemingly giving a woman almost no power in society. In Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” we can see an example of how being feminine is negative with the character Okonkwo and his father. Okonkwo is very ashamed of his father, and he constantly describes his father as being more feminine than masculine. Unoka, his father, “was a failure” (5). Okonkwo carried this shame throughout his life: “…his whole life was dominated by fear” (13) and “…It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father” (13). When Okonkwo was little, another boy insulted his father and called him “agbala” (13). “That was how Okonkwo first came to know that agbala was
The Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a straight to the point story, embedded with interesting elements that capture readers’ attention. In my view, when I read the story, I found many interesting things about the theme of the book. But The Masculinity Okonkwo was what captures my attention. The story opens up to a Traditional Igbo lifestyle, a theme which is highly stylized from its ritual to the actions performed for certain ceremonies. Most of the action Igbo tribe has been an attempt to show respect to the gods, for example, when ikemefuna became sick and his stomach swelled up their traditions says that he take them to the evil forest and kill him. The story also seems to focus on gender,
Throughout history, specifically African heritage, wife beating and other forms of abuse are acceptable. Power and strength are pillars of African culture and can not be jeopardized by women and femininity. Many of the men in Umuofia, the main setting of Things Fall Apart, look up to Okonkwo and his actions. In order to demonstrate his strength (or lack thereof), he continually berates his wives. Along with his wives, he also abuses his children hoping that someday they will be as successful as him. Throughout Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo victimizes his family.
This novel is about Okonkwo, — one of the toughest men among the Ibo people—his family, their daily life and the major events in their Nigerian village. The Ibo (called Igbo in the Norton Critical Edition), characterize men based on the titles that they acquire. As stated by Don Ohadike, “Throughout Igboland, a man who failed to progress beyond the most junior titles was a man without status in the eyes of his people” (Ohadike 240-241). Titles allow members who have obtained them to be in the specific title’s social group, which bring prestige when the higher titles are obtained. In Things Fall Apart, it is evident that the male tribe members are treated according to what titles they hold. “Because he had taken titles, Ezeudu was to be buried after dark with only a glowing brand to light the sacred ceremony” demonstrates this treatment based on what title or social group the member belongs to (Achebe 123). Okonkwo has taken all but the highest title of the land (Achebe 172). Okonkwo’s actions that show his awareness of his superiority are due to his titles. This is demonstrated when he calls a man with no title the same name for a woman (Achebe 13). If Okonkwo was not a part of his title’s social group, he would not have had grounds to call that man a woman. Okonkwo further demonstrates his social group association in his motivation to obtain the highest title when
Let me see a beautiful picture when I answer first question. The images are in ancient times, the men work in the fields, the women with her dexterous hand weaving handmade goods. This picture appears in the textbooks, because in a long time ago is the agricultural economy era, men's main task is to do manual labor, and women in the lack of strength, they pay more attention to detail, such as embroidery and weaving clothes. That era is a feudal society, they do not know what feminism is, but men and women with different physical characteristics do a different division of labor, make the greatest efforts to achieve