Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe Essay

1357 Words 6 Pages
In the novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, women play the roles of oppressed homemakers that are perceived as weak and defenseless second-class citizens, as the educators of children, and as spiritual leaders in traditional Ibo culture. Through the life of Okonwo, the main character of Things Fall Apart, the roles of women in traditional Ibo culture are presented through various events that take place in the village of Umuofia. In traditional Ibo culture, women were to stay at home and tend to her husbands’ needs and satisfy them. Women were viewed as property of their fathers and were then sold to the suitor that was willing to pay her bride-price. A woman had no identity of her own, the status and position of her husband defined …show more content…
The other wives were very much afraid of Okonwo but they knew better than to challenge his authority. Neither of the wives dared to interfere between an occasional and tentative, “It is enough Okonwo “, pleaded from a reasonable distance (38). Okonwo even attempts to shoot Ekwefi when she referred to him as one of those “guns that never shot.” The novel describes a third instance of wife beating, when a severe case of wife beating comes before the egwugwu, they found in favor of the beaten wife, but at the end of the trial an elder wondered,” Why such a trifle should come before the egwugwu?”(94). All these occurrences demonstrate that women are oppressed and are treated like inferior, worthless properties that deserved to be beaten now and then in traditional Ibo culture. The Ibo believe that women are weak in every aspect of life. Men insult each other by calling each other women. An example of this is Okonwo’s deep hatred and resentment for his father, Unoka, whom he considered a woman because of his carelessness to rank high in status among the Ibo, for his laziness, and him being an untitled man. In a kindred meeting of his peers, Okonwo unkindly tells Osugo, the man who had contradicted him in the meeting, “This meeting is for men” (26). Since Osugo has taken no title, Okonwo considers him a woman. Okonwo perceives women as being weak and does not want to appear weak or like a woman among the Ibo. After murdering Ikemefuna,