Society in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achedes

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Society in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achedes The world in Chinua Achedes novel, Things Fall Apart, was a society in which males had control of everything, and the women had control of nothing. As wives, women were seen as property, rather than as partners to be loved and cherished. The men of the Ibo tribe usually married more than one wife because the more wives, yams, barns, and titles each Ibo man held, the more successful he was considered. These possessions determined a man's social status. An example of a man looking for social status in these ways was Nwakibie, "who had three huge barns, nine wives and thirty children, and the highest but one title which a man could take in the clan"(18). The men controlled the children and women by treating them like slaves. Their only role in the man's life was to help him achieve a higher stature by working for him. The Ibo tribe's definition of family was much different than it was in many other parts of the world in the eighteen-hundreds. Okonkwo's "whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness" (13). The way Achebe described Okonkwo's family and his tribe showed that in Ibo society, anything strong was related to man, and anything weak was related to woman. As a child, Okonkwo was teased by other kids when they called his father "Agbala". "Agbala" is a Ibo word used in reference to a man who had taken no title or simply "woman". Unoka, Okonkwo's father, was the exact epitome of failure and weakness to Okonkwo. Because of this "Okonkwo was ruled by one passion- to hate anything his father had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness"(13). Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, reminded him of his father, and he describes Nwoye as... ... middle of paper ... ...nana tree to wrap food in, and then was almost killed when she mumbled something about "guns that never shot" (38-39). Perhaps Okonkwo's treatment of women and wives comes from unconscious fear of showing love or concern, which would be seen as a form of weakness. The Ibo tribes emphasize on virility, stereotyping, gender discrimination, and violence, which all create an unfair misrepresentation of women. The only women that were respected in this novel were the priestess, such as Chielo of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves. Chielo can transform from the ordinary and can talk back to Okonkwo, and even scream curses at him: "Beware of exchanging words with Agbala. Does a man speak when a God speaks? Beware!" (101). Okonkwo is powerless before the goddess's priestess. He feels insecure because she is a women, so he feels more of a need to control his own women.

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