Things Fall Apart: Rhetorical Lenses

3160 WordsApr 25, 201313 Pages
THINGS FALL APART LENSES Chapters One through Three: Marxist Lens In chapters on through three of Things Fall Apart by China Achebe, it introduces the protagonist, Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a wealthy and highly regarded person in his village know as the Iguedo. Okonkwo’s main drive in life is to be manly and he actually fears weakness. He gained his title as a powerful warfighter by defeating Aluminize the cat in a wrestling match who, up until the fight with Okonkwo, was undefeated for seven years. The protagonist in this novel is also quite wealthy, as we see with his three wives, individually housed, and his eight children spread among them. At the end of chapter three, we learn why Okonkwo is as successful as he is, and that 's because…show more content…
Chapter four begins with a frustrated Okonkwo looking for Ojiugo, his first wife. He asks Ekwefi where she has gone, to which she relied, “[Ojiugo] has gone to plait her hair” (25 Achebe). The idea that all women sate time doing frivolous things such as waste money on appearances is subtly brought up here. However, it is not something that all women abide by, but it is generally accepted as true. On page 34, Okonkwo is once again disgruntled because he suspects his banana tree has been killed. His wife had simply taken a few of the leaves for food wrappings, and attempted to explain this to him. Okonkwo meets her dishonorable backtalk with a “sound beating and left here and her only daughter weeping” (Achebe). Chinua illustrates this “women knowing their place” notion perfectly, but also offensively to any women reading this novel. Although traditional Igbo culture is fairly just and peaceful, it is also profoundly patriarchal. Wife-beating is an accepted practice, but also, femininity is associated with weakness while masculinity is associated with strength. It is no coincidence that the word that refers to a title-less man also means “woman.” A man is not believed to be “manly” if he cannot control his women. In this, Okonkwo only allows himself to display one emotion, anger, which is why he deals with most situations with violent discourse. By letting this emotion free, he beats his wives,

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