More than those of any other African writer, Chinua Achebe’s writings have helped to develop what is known as African literature today. And the single book which has helped him to launch his "revolution" is the classic, Things Fall Apart. The focus of this essay includes: 1) Achebe's portraiture of women in his fictional universe, the existing sociocultural situation of the period he is depicting, and the factors in it that condition male attitudes towards women; 2) the consequences of the absence of a moderating female principle in his fictions; 3) Achebe's progressively changing attitude towards women s roles; and 4) feminist prospects for African women. In the context of this study, the Igbo people whom Achebe describes will represent the rest of Nigeria -- and a great many of the nations of Africa. Sociocultural Background
Were Nigeria and Africa oppressively masculinist? The answer is, "Yes." Ghana was known to have some matrilineal societies, such as the Akans; but Nigeria's traditional culture, Muslim as well as non-Muslim, had been masculine-based even before the advent of the white man. The source, nature, and extent of female subordination and oppression have constituted a vexed problem in African literary debates. Writers such as Ama Ata Aidoo of Ghana and the late Flora Nwapa of Nigeria have insisted that the image of the helpless, dependent, unproductive African woman was one ushered in by European imperialists whose women lived that way. On the other hand, the Nigerian-born, expatriate writer Buchi Emecheta, along with other critics, maintains that African women were traditionally subordinated to sexist cultural mores. I ally myself to the latter camp. I believe that, in creating a masculine-based society, Ac...
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- More than those of any other African writer, Chinua Achebe’s writings have helped to develop what is known as African literature today. And the single book which has helped him to launch his "revolution" is the classic, Things Fall Apart. The focus of this essay includes: 1) Achebe's portraiture of women in his fictional universe, the existing sociocultural situation of the period he is depicting, and the factors in it that condition male attitudes towards women; 2) the consequences of the absence of a moderating female principle in his fictions; 3) Achebe's progressively changing attitude towards women s roles; and 4) feminist prospects for African women.... [tags: Things Fall Apart essays]
3611 words (10.3 pages)
- The Role of Women in Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart explores the struggle between old traditions within the Igbo community as well as Christianity and "the second coming" it brings forth. While on the surface, it appears the novel narrows its focus to a single character, Okonkno and his inner battles, one can read deeper into the text and find an array of assorted conflicts in the realm on human vs. human, human vs. nature, human vs. society, and society vs. society.... [tags: Things Fall Apart essays]
1828 words (5.2 pages)
- Women in Things Fall Apart The position and image of women in Things Fall Apart is an important topic. Unfortunately, people have not paid much attention to it beyond going along with the assumption that this novel presents women as a sadly oppressed group with no power. This assumption may appear to be right, but there is much more to think about. Women in Things Fall Apart are the primary educators of children. Through story telling and other forms of discourse, they educate and socialize the children, inspiring in them intellectual curiosity about social values, relationships, and the human condition.... [tags: Things Fall Apart essays]
404 words (1.2 pages)
- Women's Role in the Ibo Society In the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, women of the Ibo tribe are terribly mistreated, and viewed as weak and receive little or no respect outside of their role as a mother. Tradition dictates their role in life. These women are courageous and obedient. These women are nurturers above all and they are everything but weak. A main character in the novel, Okonkwo has several wives. He orders them around like dogs. They are never to question what they are instructed to do; they are expected to be obedient.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
1170 words (3.3 pages)
- Post colonialism deals with cultural identity in colonized societies and the ways in which writers articulate that identity. Things Fall Apart is a good novel that serves as a reminder of what Nigeria once was. It shows how a society can deal with change, how change affects the individuals of that society, and how delicate a change can be; so much so that the people themselves are surprised at the change. Things Fall Apart is an English novel by the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe which was published in 1957.... [tags: things fall apart, chinua achebe]
3008 words (8.6 pages)
- In this book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the weather plays a very important role in the lives of the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. The rain and or lack of rain demonstrate how much this tribe depends on the weather for their survival. It also affects them in several different ways such as their emotions, physical world, and the spiritual or religious world. The weather in this novel controls their crops and the river flow; which controls their food and water supply. They depend on adequate rainfall to help their crops to grow and for the river to be full.... [tags: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, symbolism, weath]
498 words (1.4 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.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
1351 words (3.9 pages)
- Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe like any other novel has its changes and progressions. When the novel first starts out it talks about Unoka. Then it goes to his son Okonokwo who is the main character and who the book is mainly about. It then talks about Nwoye who is the son of Okonokwo. Another is Ikemefuna who has to live in this village because of a crime who his father commits. It shows how much the tribe changes during these years and how it affects the lives of these four men. First it starts out with Unoka.... [tags: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, changes, time, ]
554 words (1.6 pages)
- Notion of Balance in Things Fall Apart by Achebe The notion of balance in Achebe's novel is an important theme throughout the book. Beginning with the excerpt from Yeats's poem, "The Second Coming," the concept of balance is stressed as important, for without balance, order is lost. In the novel, there are many systems of balance which the Ibo culture seems to depend upon. It is when these systems are upset that "things fall apart." Okonkwo, the Ibo religion, and ultimately, the Ibos' autonomy were brought to their demise by an extreme imbalance between their male and female aspects.... [tags: Achebe Things Fall Apart Essays]
1625 words (4.6 pages)
- The Women of Umuofia in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart The only women respected in Umuofia are those like Chielo, the priestess of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves, who is removed from the pale of normalcy. Clothed in the mystic mantle of the divinity she serves, Chielo transforms from the ordinary; she can reprimand Okonkwo and even scream curses at him: "Beware of exchanging words with Agbala [the name of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves]. Does a man speak when a God speaks. Beware!" (95).... [tags: Things Fall Apart essays Females Achebe ]
1991 words (5.7 pages)