When Things Fall Apart

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Woman Pages: 3 (783 words) Published: October 20, 2014
Tamara Attia

Things Fall Apart Essay

In this novel, a lot of the traditional Igbo life is the way it is because of the organized gender roles. Basically, all of Igbo lifestyle is dependent on genders, like the characterization of crimes, and the different crops that women and men grow. Men, in this culture, are the stronger sex. Women are seen as weak beings, but are respected for certain things they do, such as bearing children. (Shmoop)

The role of a man is to be able to provide for his family to live and to be skillful and strong in battle. The role of a woman is to be purely a bride, to be an obedient wife, and to have many children. They are responsible for household duties, and for being submissive to their husbands. (Shmoop) Women are emotional, while men are controlling and aggressive. Okonkwo, the protagonist, "ruled his household with a heavy hand" and "his wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children" (13) (Baskaran).

When the elders got together to hear about Okonkwo's mission, "… they decided, as everybody knew they would, that the girl should go to Ogbuefi Udo to replace his murdered wife. As for the boy, he belonged to the clan as a whole, and there was no hurry to decide his fate" (12). This shows how replaceable every woman is. They don't view women as human beings, but as

Tamara Attia

Things Fall Apart Essay

identical objects who all have the same duties. The boy's fate isn't decided yet, while she has to give up her life for a crime she didn't commit.

"Even as a little boy he had resented his father's failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate had told him that his father was _agbala_. That was how Okonkwo first came to know that _agbala_ was not only another name for a woman, it could also mean a man who had taken title" (13). Being called an 'agbala' is shameful because women are weaker than men in this...

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