Masculinity vs. Femininity in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1274 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Masculinity vs. Femininity in Things Fall Apart 

If viewed on the surface the story line of Things Fall Apart is a tragedy, but when viewed in a wider perspective it is a story of deeper conflict. The main issue is that the British have come to establish a mission and receive converts. Less evident is the conflict this intrusion inserts between the Ibo and British. The underlying issue is masculinity versus femininity. By this I mean to say that the Ibo are an agrarian people who are a patriarchal and see any sign of weakness as being less than desirable. The protagonist in the story, Okonkwo, is the champion of this thought. As what would happen to him seems to happen to the Ibo. When Okonkwo disagrees he is usually correct and the tribe would suffer the same fate and vice versa.

In the novel the Chi is a powerful spirit that determines a man's lot in life. One such instance is when Okonkwo was disbanded from his home for a Feminine murder; Clearly his personal god or Chi was not made for great things. A man could not rise above the destiny of his Chi.

The saying of his elders was not true---that a man who said yea his Chi also affirmed. Here was a man whose Chi said nay despite his own affirmations. (p. 131) The Chi then is the most important aspect of Ibo society. The most compelling argument for conflict between the British colonists and the Ibo lies directly within the tribes Chi.

Chi, as stated, is the will of a man. The Ibo are guided by this and believe that they can only rise to the level to which their personal God will allow. (p.131) This being the case the Ibo themselves are destined to rise only as far as their cumulative Chi will allow. If the Chi of the British is strong, eve...

... middle of paper ...

...ung lazy and reliant on the whites. When Okonkwo's own son joins the church he must have felt a great sadness that his son was weak in mind, and would become softened by the white culture. Feminine versus masculine traits is the controversy in this instance. Okonkwo has built his whole life on the masculinity of the tribe. The masculinity is what helps the tribe survive.

Chi as discussed in this novel is the concept most important to understanding the conflict within. Okonkwo's Chi is strong, and immersed the Umuofia in a battle with the British. Further underlying conflict resides in the lack of written law in African society, which led the British to assume they were not civilized, and in a constant state of anarchy. These characteristics coupled with an effeminate church led to the tragic end to Okonkwo's life, and eventually the Umuofia culture.

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Colonization Explored in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe - Written by Chinua Achebe, “Things Fall Apart” describes European imperialism through the eyes of the Nigerian tribesmen as they interact with European colonists. What makes this piece of literature valuable is not the fact that it criticizes imperialism; it is the way in which it criticizes imperialism. Achebe portrays the African tribes as having very rich civilized and social cultures, not as being animalistic savages, which other literatures would lead one to believe. Because of this, the reader is able to connect with the mindset of an African native....   [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1431 words
(4.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gender in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay - This paper will look at the contradictions in the work of Chinua Achebe in relation to his placement of woman and femininity. Kristen Holst Petersen states that ‘the African discussion is between feminist emancipation versus the fight against neo-colonialism, particularly in its cultural aspect...which comes first, the fight for female equality or the fight against Western cultural imperialism’. This paper will attempt to highlight these contradictions in relation to Achebe’s Things Fall Apart....   [tags: Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1875 words
(5.4 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Images of Masculinity and Femininity in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay example - Images of Masculinity and Femininity in Macbeth         Lady Macbeth does not have the traditional role of ‘mother’, ‘daughter’, or ‘wife’ but ‘partner’. Macbeth’s letter refers to her as: ‘My dearest partner in greatness..’ I (v) In spite of his military culture, Macbeth perceives Lady Macbeth as an equal, it would seem in all things; his political life, his career, his personal life; i.e. she is his significant other. Noticeably the emphasis is on ‘him’. Lady Macbeth lacks status of her own, as did all women in this era as ‘status’ could only be derived from one’s husband or father....   [tags: Macbeth essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
2706 words
(7.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Stronger Gender in Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay - ... Additionally, offerings were made to this goddess for good health and harvests. Punishments were instigated when violations against Ani were committed: violations against the earth or morality. Okonkwo continuously paid refuge to Ani for his extreme masculine behaviors. Such as, by breaking the Week of Peace, inadvertently killing a boy, and ultimately by taking his life. Indeed, this feminine goddess played a very strong role in tribal culture. Furthermore, the water goddess, while briefly mentioned, is representative of how Achebe illustrates feminine power within the tribe....   [tags: literary, sociological analysis]
:: 5 Works Cited
1421 words
(4.1 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Suppresion of Women's Rights: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart - Women’s rights are consistently suppressed in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” while in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, the powerful Mother of the Spirits is revered and her daughters beaten and persecuted because of their gender. These authors were vividly depicting the reality of the repression of women during this time period. They exploit the vulnerabilities of women by criticizing all of their stereotypical feminine qualities. To be called a “woman” is among the utmost offensive insults spewed upon the feeble and meek....   [tags: social issues, women's rights]
:: 8 Works Cited
984 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about Okonkwo's Self-Destructive Masculinity in Things Fall Apart - Okonkwo's Self-Destructive Masculinity in Things Fall Apart The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a story that opens the reader's mind to an entirely different way of living in a Nigerian village. Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930, perhaps this is why he writes a whole book on a Nigerian village and introduces to us the ways of life for the Nigerian people. From the first page of the book to the last, Achebe allows the reader to enter the mind of the main character Okonkwo. Okonkwo is the leader of his village and is very respected for his many achievements....   [tags: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe]
:: 1 Works Cited
2752 words
(7.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe Essay - “Tragedy arouses not only pity but also fear…” Things Fall Apart doesn’t tell you what “has” happened it shows you what is going to happen. In Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe is dramatizing what may happen and what was happening. The District commissioner suggested a book title at the end of the book. I think the book title’s main purpose was to suggest what may happen.”…The Pacification of the Lower Niger Tribes.” A tragedy has a protagonist, the protagonist is someone who is renowned or prosperous, and has a change of fortune from good to bad or vice versa....   [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1011 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Masculinity and Femininity Essay - Masculinity and femininity are two terms, which have been interpreted differently throughout history. Both the males and the females have responsibilities and duties but these duties differ based on one’s gender. Gender has played a prodigious role in the economy, politics, and the society. Everyone starts making interpretations of the strengths and weaknesses based on one’s gender. These interpretations are not always based on his or her ability but is usually based on his or her gender. Males tend to be judged as extremely strong and unfashionable in terms of appearance....   [tags: fashion, entertainment and strength] 673 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Feminine Presence in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe - Chinua Achebe’s seminal novel, Things Fall Apart, portrays the difficult struggle of a native African society to preserve its beliefs and values when faced with a powerful and dangerous outside influence. The struggle is most poignantly captured in the story of Okonkwo, a warrior who cannot reconcile his most treasured principles with the changes occurring in his society. It is through the lens of Okonkwo’s passions that we come to know the subtleties of his tribal village, Umuofia, and their complex religious and cultural practices....   [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1642 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart Essay - Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, tells the story of Okonkwo. As a fearful and stubborn protagonist, the novel retains a clear focus upon his thoughts and actions. Through the skewed perspective of a character-focused narrative, Achebe presents the complexities and subtleties of life in the Ibo community. Although the rigid frame of Okonkwo’s fears and beliefs restrict most of the narrative to his myopic account of Ibo life, the views of those in contrast to his can be seen on the outskirts of the text....   [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays] 1761 words
(5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]