The Portrayal of Women in Things Fall Apart Essay

1070 Words Jan 3rd, 2013 5 Pages
An image that comes of African women is usually a faceless and a voiceless being. There is always a tendency to look at them more or less than a slave. Chinua Achebe’s post-colonial novel, Things Fall Apart, do at some points of the novel support the case of the subjugated African women in the course of Okonkwo’s life through the practice of polygamy, paying bride price, and the atypical case of Okonkwo beating his wives at slight frustration. In Okonkwo’s eyes, women are mere property and the ones that keep a man sane. But, it is also through Okonkwo, we see women – mothers (Ekwefi), wives (Ojiugo), daughters (Ezinma), priestesses (Chielo, Ezeani) and goddesses (Ani) – who are revered and whose stature in the culture is paradoxical in …show more content…
But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you”.
Looking at the goddesses, Ani, the earth goddess, holds great power as she is the “source of all fertility”. “She was the ultimate judge of morality and conduct.” In Umuofia, before any crop is put earth, each person should “sacrifice a cock to Ani, the owner of all land.” Ani is model of the female force and she is superior to the male. Both the Week of Peace and the New Yam Festival is dedicated to her. When Okonkwo beats Ojiugo, his youngest wife, in the Week of Peace, Ezeani, the priestess of Ani, fined him with “one she-goat, one hen, a length of cloth and a hundred cowries" for the purity of the land. Okonkwo” he respected the priestess even though she was woman and was “rependant” for his actions.
To understand Okonkwo and his different interactions with women, one must look at his origins. Due to his father’s poverty and his debts, his whole life was to live opposite of him and thus, he was “dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness”. After his father’s contemptible death, masculinity was a virtue that Okonkwo thrived on. He becomes a great wrestler as well as a warrior; he has a big farm, many wives, and has some of the highest titles in the clan. He believes he is embodiment of manhood. His fear of being weak outweighs every aspect of his life. He is not blind; he simply lacks the will to overcome his fear
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