Women in Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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In Things Fall Apart, Achebe explains the pre-colonial African woman’s role in Ibo society. He presents women as a sadly oppressed group with no power. Even in these circumstances, women play the most important role of all.
The relationship between males and females in this novel is masculine-based. Men with no title are compared to being a woman (representing weakness) and given no respect. Men are expected to control and rule their women and children. Those that cannot accomplish this are not considered a man. Men are considered important. They are respected more with age and revered with achievement (Achebe, 1994). The highest accolades for the successful farmer, warrior, and man of worth are wives, yam barns, and social titles. A man’s social status is determined by these accolades (Mezu, 2013).
Women are presented in the novel as one that should be seen and not heard. They are expected to complete their household duties, raise the children, and be ready to meet the demands given by their husband without questions or complaints. They are beaten by their husband’s without recourse. They are the core of the rural workforce. Yet, women are considered inconsequential.
The family structure in Things Fall Apart is the husband as head of the household. The men marry more than one wife and have many children. The males in the family have specific roles that only males perform, such as carrying their father’s chair to a wrestling match. They are groomed early in life to be like a man, to dominate and control. The girls are also groomed to perform the tasks of females. They are taught to mother, cook, and clean along with their mothers in order to learn the way of life.
In the novel, there are several references t...

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Achebe, C. (1994). Things fall apart. New York, NY: Anchor Books.
Chun, J. (1990). The role of women in Things Fall Apart. Retrieved from
Hiatt, K. P. (2006). The role of women in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Retrieved from
Mercedes, A. (2009). A feminist analysis of Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. Retrieved from
Mezu, R. U. (2013). Women in Achebe’s world. Retrieved from
Strong-Leek, L., (2001). Reading as a woman: Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and feminist criticism. Retrieved from
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