This essay All Thing Fall Apart has a total of 1163 words and 4 pages.
All Thing Fall Apart
In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, women of the Ibo tribe are terribly mistreated, and viewed as weak and receive little or no respect outside of their role as a mother. Tradition dictates their role in life. These women are courageous and obedient. These women are nurturers above all and they are anything but weak. In the novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo has several wives. He orders them around like dogs. They are never to question what they are instructed to do; they are expected to be obedient. We clearly see this early in the story, when Okonkwo brings Ikemefuna into his home. Okonkwo tells his senior wife that Ikemefuna belongs to the tribe and that she is expected to look after him. She in turn asks him if he will be staying with them for a long period of time. This sends Okonkwo into a fury. He snaps at her in a very degrading manner, Do what you are told woman. When did you become one of the ndichie (meaning elders) of Umuofia?(pg.12) Clearly she receives no respect. Later in the story we see this woman try to comfort Ikemefuna. She mothers him as if he is one of her own children. She tries to put him at ease and can almost instinctively feel how much he misses his own mother.
In keeping with the Ibo view of female nature, the tribe allows wife beating. Okonkwo beats his youngest wife one-day because she was visiting with a friend and did not get home in time to prepare a meal for him. Another one of his wives tries to cover for her when she is questioned as to whether or not the youngest wife has fed the children before she left. Certainly she does this in effort to protect the youngest wife, knowing full well what she faced. Okonkwo does not let them down, he beats his youngest wife severely until he is satisfied. Even in spite of pleas from his other wives reminding him that it is forbidden to beat your wife during the Week of Peace. Okonkwo will face consequences, not for beating another human being, but only because of his timing. He beats his second wife when she refers to him as one of those guns that never shot. When a severe case of wife beating comes before the egwugwu, he finds in favor of the wife, but at the end of the trial a man wonders why such a trifle should come before the egwugwu(pg.83). The husband considers his wife as a property. He either wants his wife back or his bride price.
The omniscient narrator acknowledges a near-invisibility of women in Things Fall Apart. Describing a communal ceremony, he confesses, It was clear from the way the crowd stood that the ceremony was for men. There were many women, but they looked on from the fringe like outsiders(pg.77). They are not invited to stay when men are engaged in any discussion; they are not included in council of war; they do not form part of the masquerades representing the judiciary and ancestral spirits.
Okonkwo views women to be weak and foolish. He has a different expectation for men and women. This can be seen clearly by the way that he raises his children. He tries his best to train Nwoye to be strong and brave while he feels sorry that Ezinma is a girl. Okonkwo knows that Ezinma has the right spirit, but he does not try to make her to be brave or strong. He favors her the most out of all of his children, yet if Ezinma had been a boy [he] would have been happier(pg.69). This kind of contradiction comes up in the novel repeatedly. Those practical, daily life examples of how Okonkwo views women play an important role in showing Okonkwo's real drive for his behaviors. From those examples, we can see that Okonkwo hates any women's characteristics because they remind him of his father. He is afraid of becoming like his father. He hates the fact that his father is so unsuccessful; therefore, he does not want to be like his father. The underlying theme for those examples is not to show that
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AfricanWritersSeries, Postcolonialliterature, ThingsFallApart, Okonkwo, ChinuaAchebe, Igbopeople