Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

1351 Words6 Pages
In the novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, women play the roles of oppressed homemakers that are perceived as weak and defenseless second-class citizens, as the educators of children, and as spiritual leaders in traditional Ibo culture. Through the life of Okonwo, the main character of Things Fall Apart, the roles of women in traditional Ibo culture are presented through various events that take place in the village of Umuofia. In traditional Ibo culture, women were to stay at home and tend to her husbands’ needs and satisfy them. Women were viewed as property of their fathers and were then sold to the suitor that was willing to pay her bride-price. A woman had no identity of her own, the status and position of her husband defined her. Women were considered inferior to men and were not to challenge or question their authority. When Nwoye’s mother or Okonwo’s senior wife questioned how long was Ikemefuna to stay with them, Okonwo was stunned at her questioning him and furiously responded, “ Do what you are told, woman ,” When did you become one of the ndichie of Umuofia?”(14). And so Nwoye’s mother took Ikemefuna to her hut and asked no more questions. In observance with the Ibo view of female nature, the clan allowed wife beating. The novel describes two instances when Okonwo beats his wives. The first instance is when Okonwo beats his wife, Ojiugo for not coming home to prepare his meal. He beat her severely and was punished but only because he beat her during The Week of Peace. Any other time people would not have come over to see why a woman was screaming, but this was during the Week of Peace, and to beat someone during The Week of Peace was unheard of. The second instance is when he beats his second wife, Ekwefi for ... ... middle of paper ... ...values that they cherish and follow. Another social custom is the sharing of the Kola nut, which is a ritual of hospitality among the Ibo. The nut is passed between hosts and guests, each insisting that the other should be the one to crack the nut, but the host eventually does the honors. The custom of the sharing of the Kola nut between neighbors shows the mutual respect that the Ibo exhibit towards each other. By describing such customs, Achebe demonstrates that the Ibo have a unique and structured society with civilized customs that makes up every part of Ibo’s lives. The Ibo based almost everything they did in their strong religious beliefs. The Ibo had many god whom they worshipped and respected deeply. The Ibo’s religion was involved in the way they governed, the way they interacted, the way they decided on war and other issues, and even the way they farmed.

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