Things Fall Apart Gender Analysis

1399 Words 6 Pages
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.
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“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

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