Literary Analysis of Things Fall Apart Essay

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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…show more content…
Okonkwo looks down upon everyone who has a visible weakness because, in his opinion, weaknesses are woman-like. During the course of the novel, it appears as though Achebe is prejudiced against women. However, in his crude remarks quoted in the novel by Okonkwo, Achebe is actually praising the female race. After Okonkwo accidentally kills a young boy, he is banished to his motherland. He takes this banishment as a direct insult to all of his values. During Okonwo's stay in Mbanta, one of his many wives has a child. Uchendu, Okonkwo's uncle, forces him to name the baby, Nneka- "Mother is Supreme." When Okonkwo refuses to call his baby a name that contradicts his strongest beliefs, he laughs out loud and asks why anyone would say, "the mother is supreme." Uchedu explains something that makes Okonkwo have more appreciation for his home in Mbanta. Uchendu states: It is true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness, he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. (Achebe 116) Okonkwo still believes in male superiority, but this quote shows the reader that women truly do hold a valuable place in the world. Women are there to show compassion and to defend the child. In our culture today men are supposed to be the powerful dominate figure
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