Sexuality In Gordimer's Things Fall Apart

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Jorshinelle T. Sonza rightly debunks Dorothy Driver’s claim that Gordimer’s texts are “male centred” and do not give any depth to women (106). Unlike Things Fall Apart, Gordimer does not marginalize women. In fact, by depicting Hannah as a human rights activist, Gordimer is empowering women. At the same time, Gordimer is also valorising Black women over the White. Sonza says, Hannah is “flawed in her activism. It is Aila who undertakes the revolutionary struggle with intensity.” (107) But again, unlike Achebe’s novel she is suggesting transgression of boundaries of gender and race through a work of fiction.
In Gordimer’s Story, sexuality is intertwined with politics. There are parallels between Sonny’s behind-the-curtain relationship with
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In the beginning, when the wife of Udo is killed, it creates a masculinist hysteria, for, she is the “daughter of Umuofia” – showing how women’s bodies become vessels of community honour. (Achebe 9) There is a deliberate silencing of how the faceless, nameless woman is killed. A woman is just the private property of man, and her identity is far less important as compared to the fact that she is a virgin. At another instance in the novel, in the meeting with Nwakibie, she conveys how rituals take place in the Igbo culture at the cost of women and act as markers of a hierarchical way of life. Ironically, as Stratton also points out, women are excluded from their own betrothal ceremony. They are the trophies of men. In times of festivity, they ritually enter and exit after performing. They are passive spectators of the wrestling match played by men. The masculinity that gets manifested in the wrestling match is a direct continuation of that which gets rectified in the desire for women. There is also a clear distinction between the supernatural realm where women have some power (also sanctioned by patriarchy) and the social realm where only men have all the power. Women only enjoy a metaphysical space and come across as shadowy figures. Chielo is depicted as a female fatale – whimsical, demanding and idiosyncratic. It is also ironic that …show more content…
As opposed to the destructive machismo of Okonkwo is his father Unoka. Associated with the creative qualities, Unoka emerges as a ‘feminized’ figure and stands as a critique of the martial ethos and violent masculinity. Similar to him is the character of Okonkwo’s son Nwoye, who is seen by Okonkwo as lazy. Though Nwoye pretends to belong to the culture and subscribe to its notions of masculinity, he is never comfortable, and is looking for alternative conceptions of temporality and growth by refusing to grow up in the way his father expects him to. As such, he emerges as the most ‘queer’ character of the text and only later does one see him as source of highlighting the exclusionary ethos and offering the most sustained critique. By choosing Christianity, he refuses to plot his life according to the affirmative, heteronormative trajectories and takes refute in a religion which he finds far more connected to his personality. Stratton, therefore, also argues that Achebe does not advocate the dismantling of the structures of male domination but the incorporation into the male personality of qualities traditionally associated with the feminine. Frantz anon, on the other hand, would see Nwoye as a cultural dupe, someone who has embraced white culture at the cost of his native culture and would hence be a figure of

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