Things Fall Apart Essay

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February 27, 2015 Haile Brooks Femininity in Umofia In telling this story, it is impossible to do so without mentioning how women are important to the Ibo society in Umofia. This is why different stories bring out women and their roles in the society although the stories may not be talking about a woman as the main character. In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe explores the disagreement over women’s roles in the Nigerian society of the Ibo people. Achebe’s main character, Okonkwo, finds himself caught in the struggle between his own dislike of women’s views and the more complicated explanations of femininity in his society. Although the women in Things Fall Apart seem to be an abused group with no power, however the deep-rooted beliefs of the culture reveal an attitude of appreciation and respect toward the female roles in Ibo society. At first glance, the women of Umofia appear to be completely powerless. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo frequently defeats the women in his life, beats his wives, and shows that he does not think very highly of the female gender. When a man challenges him in a meeting, he snaps back saying, “this meeting is for men”(Achebe 26), implying that in his mind being called a “woman” is a nasty insult. In fact, when Okonkwo feels guilty for killing his adopted son, he associates his emotions to weakness that is typical of femininity and says to himself, “when did you become a shivering, old woman?” (Achebe 65). This shows that Okonkwo views women as being unable to be so called “masculine” when it comes to strengths and powers. Such gender stereotypes are shared by others in the Ibo society; a closer look shows that the culture actually treasures the women in their world. In Things Fall Apart, women are featured as the main children’s

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