Gender Forces In "Things Fall Apart"

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Honors Language Arts II 16 December 2011 Gender Forces in “Things Fall Apart” Much of the traditional Ibo life presented in this novel revolves around structured gender roles. Essentially all of Ibo life is focused on gender, from the crops given to a man to grow and others to a woman, to differences of crimes. In Ibo culture, women are not as important, but also have qualities that make them worthy, such as having and caring for children. First, the main role for women is: to first, to find a pure bride for a faithful husband, second, to be an obedient wife, and third, to have many children. The ideal man provides for his family materially and is brave on the battlefield. Second, the unbalance plays a part in the lives of the clan members. For instance the main character in the novel, Okonkwo, is extremely focused on being super masculine and finds everything feminine less worthy, leaving him very unbalanced. This unbalance leads him to violate the feminine beliefs such as peace. For instance, during the “Week of Peace” Okonkwo came home to find that his second wife had not returned from her friend’s house in time to cook dinner. “When she returned he beat her very heavily. In his anger he had forgotten that it was the Week of Peace” (Achebe29). Beating your wife during the Week of Peace was a huge sin to the clan. Okonkwo let his anger get the best of him and violated the code of the Ibo people. Next, his shunning of all things feminine causes him to commit crimes that eventually lead to his downfall for example in his relationship with Ikemefuna. “Even Okonkwo himself became very fond of the boy-inwardly of course. Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it would be the emotion of anger. To show affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength. He therefore treated Ikemefuna as he treated everybody else-with a

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