Masculinity In Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

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The colonization of a country has, for centuries, been equated with the sexual taking—often raping—of a nation. In Colonialism/Postcolonialism, Ania Loomba asserts that representations of colonialism “encode the rape and plunder of colonized countries by figuring the latter as naked women and placing colonizers as masters/rapists” (Loomba 90). Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, an African village man whose security lies in his masculinity. Over the course of the novel, colonizers and traders infiltrate his community and alter his culture, unbalancing him in his position of power. His gradual emasculation throughout the novel is a direct commentary on how his village is colonized. Okonkwo’s insecurity with his masculinity…show more content…
Traditionally, the colonized country is depicted as a woman ripe for harvesting; the colonizer comes in and ravishes the land. What sets Achebe’s novel apart from this tradition is that it examines the slow emasculation of a male protagonist. While his village is certainly being taken advantage of, he is stripped of his masculine power and nothing more. Okonkwo’s surrender is not given any kind of sexual connotation. Although he is ultimately seen as quite feminine in nature due to hid suicide and the system’s lack of support for him, he is not taken advantage of in any way. The Commissioner is vaguely interested in him, but mainly dismisses him in favor of thinking about his book. It is this dismissal, however, that marks the true shift in power from the beginning of the novel to the end. At the beginning of the novel, Okonkwo is a symbol of masculinity; by the end, he is merely a corpse on a tree, not even worthy enough to be handled by his people. The District Commissioner’s rise to power and his dismissal of Okonkwo predicts what will happen with Umuofia when the colonizers have exhausted its resources: it will simply no longer be of

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