Gender Roles In Things Fall Apart

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In the novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe we learn about the Ibo culture and how it is a male-dominant society that is ran by men. In the village of Umuofia, women have little to no power and men are seen as superior to them. Women are seen as the “weak” sex and have only a few qualities that make them powerful for example the ability of conceiving children, to be an obedient wife, and to be a pure bride. Genders in Ibo society play an important role. The people from Umoufia are gendered by people’s qualities, success, as well as by characterization of crimes. In Things Fall Apart we see that women were considered weak, they were often mistreated, yet, however, had a few important roles. In the Ibo culture we can see that anyone who was weak was considered a woman. At the beginning of the novel, Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, was a failure which causes Okonkwo to fear failure and weakness. “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness.” (Achebe) In the novel Unoka is referred to as “agbala” which was a man who either took no title or was a “woman.” “Even as a little boy he had resented his father's failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate had told him that his father was “agbala.” (Achebe) Being called “agbala” was considered an insult to men. Later, as the novel unraveled Okonkwo calls his son, …show more content…
His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper.” (Achebe) In Umuofia they show the reader how it is common for women to be mistreated and beaten. Okonkwo’s wives respected his orders and always did as they were told. In the novel they also show that it is important for men to overpower women even in his home. “No matter how prosperous a man was if he was not able to rule his women and his children (especially his women) he was not really a man.”

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