Things Fall Apart: Gender Roles

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Things Fall Apart: Gender Roles
Things Fall Apart is a literary novel written and published by Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, or Chinua Achebe, in the 1959. Chinua was born on November 16, 1930 into a Nigerian village named Ogidi. Things Fall Apart is based in Nigeria around the year 1890. The book addresses topics including, “Nigeria’s white colonial government and the traditional culture of the indigenous Igbo people” (SparkNotes Editors). The book also contains several controversial topics involving, Christian missionaries being labeled, “foolish”, the subject matter of death and suicide, and the physical and verbal abuse that the women received. Chinua well portrays the “macho” and chiefly attitude of the African men in the Ibo society. But the question is, how exactly are women treated within the society? The well respected Okonkwo is a prime example on exactly how men treated women during this time period.
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The stereotype of what exactly men and women need to do is ever present in this novel. The basic thing women do is work within the home, clean, and cook. Men usually go out in the field and find crops and serve in the war. A quote from page 44 of Things Fall Apart shows exactly how the stereotype is embedded, even into the children. Enzima, Ekwefi's and Okonkwo’s daughter, asks if she can bring a chair to her father. In response, Okonkwo says, “No, that’s a boy's job”. That is an example of how children are unaware of these gender roles but they’re forced upon them, even at a young age. Another quote within the book states how even crops have a gender barrier on them. In chapter 3, page 28, this topic is introduced. “His mother and sisters worked hard enough, but they grew women’s crops, like coco-yams, beans and cassava. Yam, the king of crops, was a man’s crop.” That is one of the several examples of prejudice and sexism within in this
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