Masculinity In Things Fall Apart And Story Of An African Farm

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Analyse the meanings of manhood in Things Fall Apart, Story of an African Farm

While Victorian literature represented the colonized as unintelligible and voiceless, both novels tackle the representation of masculinity in colonized communities. On a first reading, the representation of masculinity seems to contrast in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and in Schreiner’s Story Of An African Farm. Achebe represents a community trapped in a single and fixed representation of manhood. The narrative performance of the protagonist’s masculinity is staged and questioned in relation to the values of the village and to the colonial power. In Story of An African Farm, traditional gender paradigms are disrupted: colonial masculinity and masculine ideas of imperial power are both questioned and satirised. However, a closer analogy of the staging of masculinity in both novels can reveal how the dynamics of colonial power are made visible in and through the performances of masculinity. Previous critics have considered manhood as largely universal, defining what it means to be a man but it would be simplistic to reduce masculinity as rooted in a biological or cultural essence therefore supporting the idea of a masculine ideal. My essay argues that manhood is embodied, it relies on a series of performances but is masculinity an internal reality? A consideration of how these performances are made intelligible and whether they allow to consolidate a sense of masculine identity can make us think

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