In Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, Ezinma battles an internal conflict of wanting to act like the opposite gender, but is looked down upon because of her sex. Ezinma ultimately resolves this conflict by following the expectations of society; however, this choice also illustrates her true character as both rebellious and ladylike. Ezinma’s decision to follow the gender roles also reveals the universal theme that social orders may determine how an individual acts according to stereotypes and gender roles.
To begin, Nwoye reacts to western ideas by embracing European culture. Nwoye begins to accept the idea of Christianity and considers joining their community. The narrator explains, “He went back to the church and told Mr.Kiaga that he had decided to go to Umuofia where the white missionary had set up a school to teach young Christians to read and write”(Achebe 152). Nwoye’s decision shows his acceptance of European culture through assimilation. Furthermore, Nwoye willing departs from his family, rejecting his old culture to embrace a new one. The abuse from Okonkwo drives Nowye away from his old culture. The narrator explains, “But he was happy to leave his father”(Achebe 152). Nwoye accepts the new culture with a new identity, showing how his original culture does not
The novel also explores the negative impact that inequality has on the lives of Nigerians. Characters experience both gender inequality and inequality between different classes of society. In the story ‘Tomorrow Is Too Far’ the author highlights that how her grandmamma treats her and brother differently. Her grandmamma taught her brother Nonso how to pluck the coconuts but not her. Because ‘girls never plucked coconuts’. Nonso was always given the first sip of coconuts and grandmamma cooked meals with him in mind, not his sister. Nonso’s sister was told instead ‘this is how you will take care of your husband one day’. And also her mother used to end her brother’s nightly goodnight ‘ho-ho-ho’ laughing, but never left her room laughing. That’s all because Nonso is grandmama’s ‘sons only son, who would carry on the Nnabuisi’ name. This demonstrates that the importance of name and that these beliefs lead to gender inequality. The author also shows the negative impact of gender inequality.
In the summer of her tenth year, and many events in our narrator’s life has happend that could lead her to feelings of jealousy and hate for her brother. Her mother and father are far away in different countries, and along with her brother and cousin are in Nigeria with their Grandmama who favors her brother, Nonso. Our narrator is focused on the preferential treatment of Nonso and seems to let it take over her, and it becomes a
In American culture there are many actors, artists, and musicians that are popular even though they do not make good decisions, or support ideas that do good instead of bad. In the book Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie one of the themes is how social presence does not dictate self-worth. The book shows this through the Papa vs. Family conflict, the character Papa Nnukwu and the Missal symbol.
African society, influenced by its traditional economy, held strict gender roles, and Ekwefi stayed in the home and focused on traditional female tasks. Although African American society in the twentieth century prized women and elevated females to powerful matriarchal positions in the family, pre-colonial Nigeria in no way tolerated women outside the bounds of the home. Ekwefi lives “in perpetual fear of [Okonkwo’s] fiery temper,” and pours herself into raising her daughter, Ezinma (Achebe 13). Because Okonkwo fails to respect the religious customs and “beat” his wife “very heavily” during the “Week of Peace,” others in clan lose respect for him and his family, and Ekwefi can do very little to change this (Achebe 29) . To deal with her husband’s inadequacies, Ekwefi pours herself into Ezinma and raises her to exhibit strength and bravery. Because Okonkwo and traditional Nigerian society hailed masculinity as supreme and despised femininity, Ekwefi knew that in order to appease Okonkwo’s anger, she must raise her child to exhibit these characteristics, despite her gender. Her strategy proved successful, as “Okonkwo was specially fond of Ezinma,” but only showed his “fondness on very rare occasions” (Achebe 44). Furthermore, Okonkwo repeatedly states that Ezinma “should have been a boy,” (Acehbe 64) because he loves her, but continually
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.
Women are often thought of as the weaker, more vulnerable of the two sexes. Thus, women’s roles in literature are often subdued and subordinate. In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, women are repressed by an entrenched structure of the social repression. Women suffer great losses in this novel but, also in certain circumstances, hold tremendous power. Achebe provides progressively changing attitudes towards women’s role. At first glance, the women in Things Fall Apart may seem to be an oppressed group with little power and this characterization is true to some extent. However, this characterization of Igbo women reveals itself to be prematurely simplistic as well as limiting, once
The impact of Ikemefuna’s death on Nwoye is devastating. Something gives way inside of him when he thinks of his father and the killing of Ikemefuna. The fear of his father and the horror over the sacrifice of Ikemefuna separates Nwoye from tribal customs and the sense of community. His family’s banishment isolates him further. Hearing the Christian hymns, which cater to
In the novel, “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe the Igbo tradition revolves around structured gender role. Everything essential of Igbo life is based on their gender, which throughout the novel it shows the role of women and the position they hold, from their role in the family household, also planting women crops, to bearing children. Although the women were claimed to be weaker and seemed to be treated as objects, in the Igbo culture the women still provided qualities that make them worthy.
Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, a tribal African yam farmer, through trials and tribulations that change both him and his tribe. The Umuofia clan values traits such as strength, confidence, crop success, and honor. Okonkwo exemplifies everything that the clan wants in a man, and he was well aware of it. He thrives on being the antithesis of the image of his father, Unoka, who was viewed as considerably more feminine and generally a failure because of his failed harvests and love of the flute. Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son, is also considerably more feminine, and therefore lesser, in the eyes of his father. Okonkwo compensated for the failure in his blood line by putting on a front of hyper-masculine fervor; something that leads him down many troublesome roads. While Things Fall Apart is a tale of many things, Okonkwo’s struggle with femininity causes many of the major conflicts the story. Okonkwo’s learned opposition to feminine traits causes him to project machismo in order to cover up for the underlying feminine qualities that he has and is fearful of.
The novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was published by Anchor Books in 2004, a first person narrative of life in the political turmoil of post-colonial Nigeria. Purple Hibiscus, exemplifies how the western feminist theory has greatly failed to address the needs and wants of the african women and their children. This essay focuses primary on the forms of patriarchy presented in the novel and how each utilizes violence, religious oppression and silence as forms of control over the mother and the children of the Achike family. The family's patriarch Eugene, the patriarchal religious leaders and the corruption of the patriarchal government attempt to control homes, parishes, and nations through silence and violence.The use of
This is the other story in the collection, which is told in the second person and it is considered the more powerful one by many reviewers. This story looks back eighteen years to an incident in the narrator’s childhood, one which has had a major impact on her whole life. The narrator reflects on the last summer before everything changed – her parents divorced, she never returned to Nigeria or saw her father’s family again. The memory begins eighteen years earlier in Nigeria at grandmamma’s place where the American-Nigerian narrator, her older brother Nonso and her cousin Dozie were all staying. Grandmamma favoured Nonso as the eldest grandson and the only one to carry the ‘Nnabuisi name’
Okonkwo illustrates the use of gender roles and lack of feminism in his daughter, Ezinma and his regret of her being a girl (Achebe 137). Okonkwo’s desire for his daughter to be a man is problematic and represents the patriarch’s refusal to view women as equal to men. Throughout Ezinma’s life time, Okonkwo expresses his desires for Ezinma to be born a boy ( Achebe 137). He explictly states to himself that he, “wishes she were a boy,” because she “understands him perfectly” (Achebe 136). Okonkwo expands on this desire as he continue to express how Ezinma is his favorite among the daughters and that she understands the ways of his consciousness and his moods (Achebe 137) . Although these expressions are subtle, Okonkwo’s regret of Ezinma’s gender plays a role in the patriarchal induced gender roles that women are socially lesser than men. Society’s standards
Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic. He is mainly known for his trilogy that investigates, using fiction, the history of Nigeria. The trilogy begins with Things Fall Apart, followed by No Longer at Ease and ended with Arrow of God. Furthermore, in this critically analytical essay, through a feminist perspective, a chapter of his second novel, No Longer at Ease, published in 1960, will be discussed. The setting of the novel is Lagos, Nigeria and Umuofia, Nigeria during the 1950s, before Nigeria attained independence from Great Britain. The novel, No Longer at Ease begins with Obi Okonkwo on trial, charged for accepting a bribe. However, using flashback, the author takes us back to the point before Obi’s departure