Masculinity typically refers to the common traits inherited by a male. Males are stereotyped to provide support for the family. Support can be executed in many ways such as through protection and financial and emotional bolstering. However, the term masculinity has various definitions and can be viewed through different lenses. In the novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the concept of masculinity is portrayed thorough the main character, Okonkwo. Okonkwo is Unoko’s son and he strives to live a life embracing manliness in a way that his father did not. His father expressed his manliness through self expression while Okonkwo displays his through being angry, violent, and patronizing. Okonkwo’s masculinity only lies in his patronizing and narrow minded behavior that often seeks to be aggressive through absolute power.
Okonkwo dominates over his wives because he has the most power in his household. Okonkwo is feared by his family members due to his aggressive nature. He is not very open and friendly with his wives and children which creates barriers in the family. His social life is wrecked. “Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his children… But they dared not complain openly.” (Achebe 13) Men in the Ibo culture are given more importance and authority over the women. The women are known as the “weaker sex” because they were not given as many opportunities outside of their daily house life. Okonkwo 's children and wives have absolutely no power because they were scared by his aggressive behavior. He believes that in order to establish firm power and show his manliness, he must b...
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...nd hold back his emotions to appear more manly and strong. Throughout the entirety of the novel, he fails to realize that masculinity lies in being a positive role model and a more humble human being. Since his childhood, he was picked on by the other children because of his father’s failure. They used to call him Unoka agbala because his father was seen as an unsuccessful man in society. Unoka was different than the rest of the male population in the Ibo society because he was not “manly”. To call Okonkwo a woman was insulting for him because they are seen as weak and frail. Therefore, all of these emotions builded up inside him, progressively negatively influencing him. He was molded by his childhood struggles which is why he had an aggressive behavior in his adulthood. Childhood years truly shapes a person and influences their views on the world as they mature.
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