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Things Fall Apart - Essay

  • Date Submitted: 06/12/2012 12:03 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.6 
  • Words: 1096
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An analysis of whether Chinua Achebe, the writer of the classic novel “Things Fall Apart”, fairly represents women in Ibo society.

All over the world, especially in developing countries, women are not treated as equals. It is not any different in the Nigerian society portrayed by Chinua Achebe in his book Things Fall Apart. In Things Fall Apart, Achebe represents the female characters as they existed in Ibo culture, which is without power but often emotionally strong. He shows how the patriarchal structure has been entrenched in Ibo culture and only represents how it exists, so that people must evaluate the culture for themselves.

Chinua Achebe shows women as having little to no power in society in his book, Things Fall Apart. Achebe writes: “And when [Ojiugo] returned he beat her very heavily. In his anger he had forgotten that it was the Week of Peace…It was unheard of to beat somebody during the sacred week” (Achebe 29-30). Okonkwo severely beats his wife for a small problem, not being home during dinner. However, the only reason he gets in trouble is because it is the week of peace. In fact, it is often encouraged that men beat their women for punishment of “wrongdoings”, and the women have no recourse against it.

Women are not only without protection, but also denied social status. They cannot meaningfully participate in social affairs. This is demonstrated is the way feminine concepts and words are used to refer to weak things. Achebe writes about Okonkwo speaking to a man who contradicted him: “Without looking at the man Okonkwo had said: “This meeting is for men.” The man who had contradicted him had no titles. That is why he called him a woman” (26). Although the women’s lack of power is very clear when looking at society, it is very obvious in the language employed by the Ibo in Things Fall Apart that women do not have any social power. They cannot do beyond what they are told. This is consistent with real Ibo culture, where social repression of...


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