Umuofian Society In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart
Women were required to cook, clean and take care of the children. If these duties were not taken care of, the women of Umuofia could be beaten. The Ibo tribe not only allowed, but encouraged wife beating. Achebe's Things Fall Apart describes beatings on a few occurrences. The first happens when Okonkwo's second wife does not come home to cook him an afternoon meal. Achebe says, " Okonkwo was provoked to justifiable anger when his youngest wife... did not return early enough to cook the afternoon meal." Achebe goes on to say, "Okonkwo bit his lips as anger welled within him ... when she returned (Okonkwo) beat her heavily" (29). Okonkwo beats Ojiugo again when she calls him a "gun that never shot." Here is one severe case of beating in the tribe, but not involving Okonkwo, Achebe describes as," my sister was with him for nine years... no single day passed ... without him beating the woman." Achebe goes on to say, "when she was pregnant he beat her till she miscarried" (91). After this trial was finished, Achebe quotes one of the elders by saying, "I don't know why such a trifle should come before the egwugwu"(94). This would show the overall indifference towards the suffering and ill treatment of the women of the tribe. Achebe shows that the Ibo women have valuable parts in the society, though. The women paint the houses of the egwugwu. A man's first wife is also shown additional respect. Achebe shows this through the palm wine ceremony at Nwakibie's obi, "Anasi was the first wife and the others could not drink before her, and so they stood waiting"