The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a commanding account about the rise and fall of an African tribe. The powerful narrative depicts the life and customs of the people and how they change through the years. Theere are many different ideas and characters that are preseneted throughout the novel. The depiction of women is one aspect that is of extreme relevance. It can be shown through several passages in the novel that the women are actually the unseen power behind the mighty Umofian tribe.
Throughout the novel, the protaganist, Okonkwo, tries to exhibit his power, wealth and independence. He feels that he must be the best in order to overcome the humiliating legacy that his father has left behind. Many times during the novel, he refers to any weak person as agbala which "was not only another name for woman, [but] it could also mean a man who had taken title" (Achebe 13). To Okonkwo, this particular name is the ultimate insult.
In contrast to Olonkwo’s perceptions, there are many illustrations in the novel which point to the power of women. One example is the gods that the members of the trive worship. An extremely important goddess to the tribe is "Ani, the earth goddes and the source of all fertility. Ani played a greater part in the life of the people than any other deity. She was the ultimate judge of morality and conduct" (Achebe 36). First and foremost, the most interesting thing to note is the idea of morality and conduct. The way that members of a community conduct themselves and the ethics which they hold are fundamentally important to the harmony of the people. It is especially fascinating that this goddess, who is the most important in the lives...
... middle of paper ...
...the man when they are making the children" (Achebe 74). The first thing to note is the fact the men find the idea of the woman being on top of the man during sexual intercourse preposterous. This position obvioulsy denotes one of power and dominance ofver the other individual. When verbalized the men don’t want to admit that a woman would have power over them in any sense. In reality, it would be interesting to see how many men objected to this position.
At surface value, Things Fall Apart seems to be a novel that depicts the downfall of a single man. In reality, Achebe’s masterful writing disguises many hidden meanings. One of the most important of these is the woman. The importance and power of a woman whether it be as mother, role model, wife or god is clearly defined in his writings.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Oxford: Heinemann, 1986.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Power Struggle in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is a powerful novel about the social changes that occurred when the white man first arrived on the African continent. The novel is based on a conception of humans as self-reflexive beings and a definition of culture as a set of control mechanisms. Things Fall Apart is the story of Okonkwo, an elder, in the Igbo tribe. He is a fairly successful man who earned the respect of the tribal elders. The story of Okonkwo’s fall from a respected member of the tribe to an outcast who dies in disgrace graphically dramatizes the struggle between the altruistic values of Christianity and the lust for power that mot... [tags: Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe]
1198 words (3.4 pages)
- Power of Women in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a commanding account about the rise and fall of an African tribe. The powerful narrative depicts the life and customs of the people and how they change through the years. Theere are many different ideas and characters that are preseneted throughout the novel. The depiction of women is one aspect that is of extreme relevance. It can be shown through several passages in the novel that the women are actually the unseen power behind the mighty Umofian tribe.... [tags: Things Fall Apart]
991 words (2.8 pages)
- ... He still gets continuously drunk and is so preoccupied with his own importance, that he shows no interest in major figures such as William Wordsworth. ‘Wordsworth …no. I’m afraid were not familiar with your literature’ and ‘English couldn’t really express us’. Friel does this to show how the Irish were resistant to a degree of cultural colonisation. His ignorance is amplified when he takes the post in ‘the new national school’, only thinking about the money. Thus, Hugh is seen as a failure of a societal patriarch in colonialism, as he doesn’t set his priorities correctly and realise at first, the implications of colonialism.... [tags: patriarch, colonization, authority]
1848 words (5.3 pages)
- ... Along with the prelude novel, Things Fall Apart of 1958, Achebe published a sequel to his story two years later. Both stories are tragedies: a good man comes to a bad end. His weakness combines with external conditions to bring him down. The first novel is when Britain was turning Nigeria into a colony. No Longer at Ease deals the story two generations later in the mid-1950s, as Nigeria moves toward independence. According to Professor Michael Valdez Moses, Achebe’s No Longer at Ease and Things Fall Apart trace a formal modulation that mirrors the historical development from the epic world of a traditional tribal society to the increasingly modern and bureaucratic world of a postcolonial... [tags: power, achebe, things fall apart]
887 words (2.5 pages)
- ... Another book that holds many good examples of the relation of social class and power is A Doll’s House. This book is about a wealthy man, Torvald, who is the head of a bank. He is a very powerful man due to his profession and is friends with many wealthy people so he obviously has a high social status. This is proved when Nora ruins him. She borrows money to save him which makes him furious. He is mad that it will wreck him socially which will cause him to be very low in society. Everything that he has worked for will be ruined and it will make his job a lot harder.... [tags: social status, okonkwo]
1063 words (3 pages)
- Keval Patel ENGL 290 Dr. Harveen S. Mann Critical Research Paper The Power Of Themes: Things Fall Apart For an abundance of authors, the driving force that aids them in creation of a novel is the theme or number of themes implemented throughout the novel. Often times the author doesn’t consciously identify the theme they’re trying to present. Usually a theme is a concept, principle or belief that is significant to an author. Not only does the theme create the backbone of the story, but it also guides the author by controlling the events that happen in a story, what emotions are dispersed, what are the actions of characters, and what emotions are presented with... [tags: Things Fall Apart, Igbo people, Chinua Achebe]
1621 words (4.6 pages)
- ... This fear drives him to do whatever he can to not become a failure like his father which ironically contributes to his death. While Okonkwo was a strong and important figure in his tribe, he had to keep his reputation that way by making some hard decisions. One of them was when he had to kill Ikemefuna, a young boy from the neighboring tribe. Okonkwo started accepting the decision to kill Ikemefuna because he started to call Okonkwo father. He had to keep his own valor intact and kill the boy to prevent himself from showing any weakness, but deep down, Okonkwo was really upset because of what he did which was ironic, “’When did you become a shivering old woman,' Okonkwo asked himself, 'y... [tags: Chinua Achebe, story analysis]
1042 words (3 pages)
- Christianity vs. Animism in Achebe's Things Fall Apart A major aspect of one’s society is religion. Without it, the way people hold themselves accountable would be nonexistent. In addition, many moral standards that exist today are values taken directly from religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Currently, there exists a feud between people who believe in a god, and of those who do not. Eventually those who believe in a higher power will fight against each other. In “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe brings to light the differences and similarities of Christianity and Animism in order to demonstrate the effects of religion upon one’s society, which is exemplified by Okonkwo an... [tags: Achebe Things Fall Apart]
1860 words (5.3 pages)
- Traditional canonical discourse contains conventional concepts of marginality, hegemony, and dichotomy, but these concepts are always displayed in the same manner. The concept of dichotomy is typically depicted as white people always having power, while everyone else is supposedly powerless. Marginalization usually consists of white people being the focus of canonical texts, while other cultures are usually focused on less. As far as hegemony is, concerned, canonical works mostly contain British or American ideals, and portray other cultures as being savage.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
1592 words (4.5 pages)
- Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart "The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart." As the British colonized the areas of Nigeria inhabited by the Ibo, they brought with them their new religion of Christianity, which sought to overrun the traditional animist way of life that had endured in the area for centuries.... [tags: Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart]
485 words (1.4 pages)