The white man considered Africans to be primitive savages. They were seen as inferior, second-class citizens. Chinua Achebe was an African novelist who sought to give the African people a voice. Achebe gave a prospective of African culture that had been missing from the literature. The white man primarily composed works of literature, therefore there was a skewed representation of African culture. Achebe conveyed a greater understanding of African culture through his first novel Things Fall Apart. This analysis will examine Okonkwo’s power and lack of freedom through his wealth, property, and actions.
Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart to be an antithesis to much of European literature, and his characterization of Okonkwo as almost a tragic hero serves that purpose. Because Okonkwo has similarities to Oedipus and others, such as Thyestes or Hamlet, he shows Western readers that Africans and members of other marginalized cultures are not completely foreign. As a corollary, Okonkwo 's failures to meet some of the qualities of a tragic hero demonstrate the failure of the mainly Western archetype to represent universal standards, a main point for postcolonialist writers. However, just because Okonkwo is an inversion of the traditional tragic hero does not mean that the archetype cannot hold for cultures outside of Europe; instead, it merely means that archetypes can be modified to create more literary variety in the same way that novels written by Africans, Europeans, and other cultures introduce essential diversity into the literary
Rhoads, Diana. "Culture in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart." African Studies Review. 36.2 (1993): 61-72. Print. < http://www.jstor.org/stable/524733>.
In Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, the Ibo culture revolves around structured gender roles, from the crops that the men and women grow, to the characterization of crimes,which creates tension between the sexes and will ultimately lead to detrimental consequences. Things Fall Apart represents the hardships and struggles between females and males. For example, Ekwefi, the wife of Okonkwo, she is often beat for the things she has genuinely forgotten about . Also, we have Enzima, Okonkwo's favorite daughter, but since she is a female, she must be treated like a women. Although females are considered the weaker gender, they possess many qualities that make them worthy, such as bearing children. Achebe explained the importance of both genders and how they contribute to the society.
Although Achebe conveys many different themes in his writing Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe expresses the importance of tribal beliefs in African Culture.
“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. Your mother is there to protect you. . . . And that is why we say that mother is supreme” (p.134). In Achebe’s 1959 “Things Fall Apart”, female figures appear to have minor domesticated roles; however with these words Achebe calls attention to female strength within the tribe. Feminine power is recognized within the tribe, and fear of this power provides the foundation for the male obsession with displays of masculinity. Achebe highlights significant female goddesses, displays a solid feminine role in education, fully develops strong-minded female characters, and demonstrates masculine catastrophes, therefore establishes female as the stronger gender in the tribe.
Set in Africa in the 1890s, Chinua Achebe's ‘Things Fall Apart’ is about the tragedy of Okonkwo during the time Christian missionaries arrived and polluted the culture and traditions of many African tribes. Okonkwo is a self-made man who values culture, tradition, and, above all else, masculinity. Okonkwo’s attachment to the Igbo culture and tradition, and his own extreme emphasis on manliness, is the cause of his fall from grace and eventual death.
In Achebe 's text, the Ibo people are overrun by the missionaries. Traditionally, Ibo culture is very one sided, as demonstrated by the villagers of Umuofia. Physical strength and power is valued above all else, and it is not uncommon for men to beat or abuse their wives and children. Okonkwo, a highly regarded Umuofian man, is especially guilty. Driven by traditional honor codes, Okonkwo feels he needs to make up for his “lazy, improvident, and drunk” father’s legacy, and goes so far as to almost kill one of his wives in front of the entire family over a banana tree to achieve his
“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe is a novel that brings into the cultures of a clan around the time that imperialism is sweeping through Africa. While much can be learned about the society as a whole, observing how the book plays on gender lines so heavily can help us better understand Okonkwo the main character and see what the underlying message of the novel holds. More specifically how the novel defines gender roles, what Okonkwo thinks about these roles, and how this comes to dictate Okonkwo’s life from that point on.
In the book women are being treated poorly. Okonkwo has three wives in which he expects for them to follow his orders or there would be consequences. Women do not get enough credit in the Igbo culture, they do so much stuff but yet receive so little credit for their work. They cook, clean the house and take care of their kids. They get disrespected by their own husbands. For example, when Okonkwo hit his youngest wife because she left the hut without making
Okonkwo’s fear leads him to treat members of his family harshly, in particular his son, Nwoye. Okonkwo often wonders how he, a man of great strength and work ethic, could have had a son who was “degenerate and effeminate” (133). Okonkwo thought that, "No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man" (45).
Throughout history, there have been many instances of people struggling to identify and cope with change and tradition, and this is no different in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
The gender role of the women was to be submissive towards their husband. In chapter four one of the things that occurred was Okonkwo beat one of his wife named Ojiugo when she did not follow his order, which was to return to their home on time to cook the afternoon meal. Okonkwo beating one of his wives shows that men have more power than the women in Umuofia. Women bear children for this husband. In the story Okonkwo’s wives bear children for him. Women play role of doing story telling with their children. “Low voices, broken now and again by singing, reached Okonkwo from his wives’ huts as each woman and her children told folk stories. Ekwefi and her daughter, Ezinma, sat on a mat on the floor. It was Ekwefl’s turn to tell a story,” (Chapter eleven, page
The novel "Things Fall Apart", by Chinua Achebe, was an eye-opening account of the life and eventual extinction of an African tribe called the Ibo. It focuses on one character, Okonkwo, who at a very early age set out on a quest of self-perfection. Coming from a family ruled by a man who was lazy and inconsistent with everything he did, Okonkwo vowed to never accept the fate of his father. Okonkwo and his family suffered through many hard times in their lives, but usually managed to come out on top. Through terrible crop seasons and bad judgement calls, Okonkwo usually prevailed, until the day came when he was faced with a situation that could not be resolved by his strength and character alone.