Things Fall Apart Gender Analysis

Superior Essays
Amy Stevens
Professor Ana Savic
ENGL 2309
June 8, 2017

Gender Biases within

The struggle for gender equality among men and women in the Igbo culture is portrayed throughout Chine Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart. The structured gender roles and culture amongst the tribesmen are taught to each generation and still exist today. From the beginning of human existence the role of the women in African society and the world is that are inferior, weaker and less able. The marginalization of women in Igbo society allows for women to be thought of as outcasts, property, and devalued. These attributions still continue today in modern society within education, religion, and the workplace just as they had before colonization of the Igbo tribe.
…show more content…
“Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper” (13). These women were treated like property and were punished physically if they faltered. When Okonkwo brings home Ikemefuna, the child of a neighboring clan that was given as sacrifice, his wife asks, “Is he staying long with us?” Okonkwo replies “Do what you are told, woman,” Okonkwo thundered, and stammered. “When did you become one of the ndichie of Umuofia?” And so Nwoye’s mother took Ikemefuna to her hut and asked no more questions (page 14). Okonkwo commands his wife to do as he says, for she is taught to be subservient and silent. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo rarely refers to his wife by their names, instead, he degrades them by referring to them by who's mother they are, or what number wife they are. His daughters, as well are looked upon with disgrace. Okonkwo never stops regretting that his daughter Ezinma was a girl, stating “I wish she were a boy” (172) He believes she understands his moods better then all his children, and through the years they have bonded, but this bond he would prefer to share with a man instead of a mundane women. In another incident, “Okonkwo’s second wife, had merely cut a few leaves off it (banana tree) to wrap some food, and she said so. Without further argument …show more content…
Women are excluded form participating in village trials, and men are only allowed to judge and speak at these ceremonies. “It was clear from the way the crowd stood or sat that the ceremony was for men. There were many women, but they looked on from the fringe like outsiders. He titled men and elders sat on their stools waiting for the trials to begin” (87). The women were only allowed to sit on the outside and excluded from participating in the hearings, even if it was a woman that held the complaint. After Okonkwo’s return from his seven years of exile, his Umuofia culture was beginning to break apart. “Okonkwo was deeply grieved, And it was not just a personal grief. He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he mourned for the warlike men of Umuofia, who had so unaccountably become soft like women” (183). Okonkwo considers his clan as feminine, and of little

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    As seen in this quote, Okonkwo dominated over his wives and daughters of the family. Women often lived in fear of their husbands, always listening to them, or else they would get beat to ‘teach them the lesson.’ For example, while one of Okonkwo’s wives was making dinner, and picked some leaves for the dinner, which was for Okonkwo and his guests. Okonkwo, however, said she had picked the leaves from the wrong plant, and “Without further argument Okonkwo gave her a sound beating and left her and her only daughter weeping. Neither of the other wives dared to interfere” (38). None of the other wives could do anything, and they all had to watch as Okonkwo took out his anger on his wife.…

    • 1036 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The writer explains how the woman goes through difficult moments after losing her husband. The woman also faced very many challenges during the struggles of raising her twelve children after being abandoned by her husband for another woman. The fact that the traditions allowed men to marry, more than two women shows how inconsiderate the African culture is to their women. The story also shows how girls were intimidated and being denied the freedom to choose whatever they wanted to wear. All the writers of these books have also focused on how traditions affected education of girls in Africa.…

    • 1909 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    He does not want Ezinma to carry a chair because that is something a boy should do. “Sit like a woman!” Okonkwo shouted at her. Ezinma brought her two legs together and stretched them in front of her” (56). There is a very strict line in Okonkwo’s mind between feminine and masculine and often Ezinma crosses that and Okonkwo gets frustrated due to her not being the son he wanted that he immediately puts her back into the category of being weak. Early in the book Ikemefuna becomes apart of Okonkwo’s family.…

    • 1529 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He also believes that being weak is an attribute of a woman. To compensate for this fear, “Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children” (13). His wives and children are an outlet for his anger, which is accepted in his culture. If the husband decides to beat or punish his wife, the wife can not stand up for herself, as she will receive a heavier punishment.…

    • 1754 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Lenina asked Linda how she was being treated in the Reservation, She responded in disappointment, “No, it was too awful. I can’t tell you about it” (122). Linda’s response shows us the main consequence that she has faced throughout her life with John. Because she practiced promiscuity, it resulted in her having a child, thus causing her to be kicked out of the World State, and then being put into a place that values monogamy where she was discriminated against because of her…

    • 1002 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    They are harassed by men; they suffer domestic violence at home; they depend on their husbands economically; they suffer racial discrimination. For instance, because Eva is abandoned by her husband, she has to sacrifice her leg to obtain money from insurance for raising her children. Nel and her mother are prohibited to use bathroom in the train because of their race. Although the oppression frequently appears the novel, Morrison takes the feminist’s perspective to encourage black women to understand their sufferings and strengths. As a critique of Morrison’s novels from International Journal on Multicultural Literature points out that, “She propagates the consciousness of the African Americans especially feminists to love themselves, their race and their culture and not get swayed away by the American culture and colour” (Samantaray, 2013, p.75).…

    • 828 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This quote is an example of a metaphor that the author uses to put into perspective how scared Ekwefi was. He compares the pot and her careful stirring to someone who is taking care of a sick child to emphasize how devastating Ezinma’s death would be to Ekwefi. Chapter 10 The clan of Umuofia has a gathering which everyone attends. Spirits representing the nine founders of the clan are tasked with resolving disputes, similar to that of a court case. The first case is about a woman who has run away from her husband’s house, because he beat her, and was very abusive.…

    • 2395 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland." When a man experiences both joy and sorrow, he always has his "mother" who is always there to comfort him, thus comes the saying "Mother is Supreme". But in the book, the Umuofia tribe allowed the beating of wives to maintain the male dominance and the image of women as powerless humans. The author illustrated the two incidents in which Okonkwo had beat his wife. When she did not come home to cook Okonkwo’s dinner, he severely struck her countless of times and was condemned for his actions but only because he did so during the Week of Peace.…

    • 992 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Women being oppressed and undermined is not only a problem in Africa but all around the world especially in developing countries. Now women in society are finally taking their rightful place and standing up for their rights. The author explains these issue in such descriptive ways that It draws the audience in as if they are living in the moment of the event. The author portrays these five women in the novel because she is one of them. The novel portrays a clear relationship between the oppression women face, they need to obey their men and suppress their voices as the traditions have passed down for centuries.…

    • 1598 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Steinbeck introduces Curley’s wife as a possession of Curley as the only girl on the ranch. Being the only female on the ranch, Curley had demanded and made sure that his wife does not talk to anyone on the ranch. As a way of revolting against her loneliness and her husband’s rules, she begins to flirt with other ranchers for attention. In the novel Curley’s wife seeks for attention or someone to talk to because Curley does not give her the love and attention she needs. Curley is rather unkind to his wife by not talking to her or caring about she has to say, leaving Curley’s wife with the need to tell someone.…

    • 1115 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays