Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was published in 1958 and is the seminal African novel in English. Although there are others, none are as influential, not only in African literature, but in literature around the world. It’s most amazing feature is that it portrays Africa, but mostly the Ibo society, before white men arrived. Achebe is trying not only to tell the outside world about Ibo cultural traditions, but to remind his own people of their past and it‘s value. In teaching the reader about Ibo society, he also explains the role of women in pre-colonial Africa.
Nigeria’s traditional culture, Muslim as well as non-Muslim, had been masculine-based even before white men arrived. This has caused many problems in African literary debates. Many other female writers believe that the image of the helpless, dependent, unproductive African woman was one that was delivered by Europeans whose women lived that way. Colonial rule just aggravated the situation by introducing a lopsided system in which African men received a good education while, like Europeans, African women received only the kinds of skills that could prepare them to be useful helpmates of the educated successful men.
In Things Fall Apart, the reader follows the trials of Okonkwo, a hero whose tragic flaw includes the fact that “his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness.” For Okonkwo, his father Unoka was engulfed in failure and weakness. Okonkwo was teased as a child by other children when they called Unoka agbala. Agbala could either mean a man who had taken no title or “woman.” Okonkwo hated anything weak or frail, and when he would describe his tribe and the members of his family show that in Ibo society anything strong had to do with man and anything weak with woman. Because Nwoye, his son by his first wife, reminds Okonkwo of his father Unoka he describes him as woman-like. After hearing of Nwoye’s conversion to the Christianity, Okonkwo questions how he, “a flaming fire could have begotten a son like Nwoye, degenerate and effeminate” On the other hand, his daughter Ezinma “should have been a boy.” He loved her the most out of all of his children, but “if Ezinma had been a boy he would have been happier.” After killing Ikemefuna, Okonkwo, asks himself, “When did you become a shivering old woman?” When his tribe looks like they are not going to fight against the intruding missionaries, Okonkwo remembers the “days when men were men.”
As everyone knows by now, there is a difference between a man and a womans outer appearance. What some people do not realize is that a man and a woman are also different in communication techniques. Generally speaking, men and women fall into two categories when dealing with communication techniques. When men talk, it is for giving information. Deborah Tannen says this informative speaking is ...
In keeping with the Ibo view of female nature, the tribe allowed wife beating . The novel describes two specific times when Okonkwo beats his second wife, once when she did not come home to make his meal. He beat her severely and was punished but only because he beat her during the Week of Peace. He beat her again when she referred to him as one of those “guns that never shot.” When a severe case of wife beating comes before the egwugwu, he found in favor of the wife.
Achebe shows that the Ibo do assign important roles to women. For instance, women painted the houses of the egwugwu. Furthermore, the first wife of a man in the Ibo society is paid some respect. This is shown by the palm wine ceremony at Nwakibie’s obi . Anasi, Nwakibie’s first wife, had not yet arrived and “the others could not drink before her”. The importance of woman’s role appears when Okonkwo is exiled to his motherland. His uncle, Uchendu, noticing Okonkwo’s unhappiness, explains how Okonkwo should look at his exile: “A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland.” A man has both joy and sadness in his life and when the bad times come, his “mother” is always there to comfort him. From that comes the saying “Mother is Supreme”.
Close Relationships between Men and Women Introduction The question, discussed in this research is, perhaps, one of the most widely discussed questions in today's society. Customary it is not discussed in an absolutely open way, but still it does not mean that the problem does not exist. Interpersonal relationships seems to be a great mystery of the mankind. People do not exist without ...