Masculinity And Feinality In Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

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In the novel “Things Fall Apart” we learn about a tribe in Nigeria that our main character, Okonkwo, comes from. We learn that men are so much more valuable than women. Men do manly things and grow men’s crops and provide for his many wives and children. Women are to do house chores and cook dinner and bare children to make men even more valuable. We learn it is acceptable to beat your wives to keep them in their place. We learn how being feminine and womanly is looked down upon.Okonkwo is the prime example of what it is meant to be masculine and what it is meant to be feminine in his culture. Author Chinua Achebe describes how femininity is inferior to masculinity and seen as weak and worthless in the Ibo society. Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, …show more content…
His mother tells fairytales and womanly stories that Nwoye thoroughly enjoys but he must pretend to hate them to please his father. Okonkwo sees too much of his own father in his son and that terrifies him. He sees cowardice, laziness, gentleness, idleness and all the other feminine things that he fears. Okonkwo often beats him physically and berates him mentally for being nothing like himself. “I will not have a son who cannot hold up his head in the gathering of the clan. I would sooner strangle him with my own hands” (33). Okonkwo would rather kill his own son with his own hands than have an effeminate one that could ruin his reputation as the prime example of …show more content…
Okonkwo has had many children with his three wives but this is the child he feels most connected to. He often wishes she were a boy. Okonkwo claims that she has the traits he considers strong and masculine. She does not mind doing chores made for men. Okonkwo often has to remind her she is supposed to be more womanly. “And after a pause she said: “Can I bring your chair for you?” “No, that is a boy’s job.” (59-60). No matter how fond of Ezinma Okonkwo is he still believes in gender roles. He believes women should do womanly things and men should do manly things. 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. Ikemefuna and Okonkwo create a father-son bond that Okonkwo and Nwoye could never have. Ikemefuna is everything he wishes Nwoye could be. Ikemefuna possess many characteristics and traits that Okonkwo considers desirable for men and masculine. He was smart, a hard worker, and did everything he was told to do. He helped Nwoye become more of the son Okonkwo hoped

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