Essay about Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

Essay about Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

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The concept of what it means to be a “man” or a “woman” and their division of labor in Africa has historically been a subject of extensive analysis in an environment characterized by widespread male prejudice. These analysis has been fed into discussions on the validity of whether male power is enough to maintain the duties that is needed in a structured economy. Masculinity is found under specific traditions about the roles and responsibilities of male member in an African household. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Weep not, Child by Ngugi wa Thion’o, and Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono are three novels that shows the African values on masculinity that underlie in gender identities, and the influences of cultural, racial, and colonial fundamentals on it.
The character Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s post-imperialism novel Things Fall Apart is a prime model of masculinity in the world of literature. Starting off very early, Okonkwo’s idea of what it is to be a man and his self-worth strongly connected. Unlike his lazy father Unoka, Okonkwo was a heroic and stoic wrestler, funder and defender of his household, possessor of lands, and the companion to more than one woman, going as far as taking another man’s wife. Though he sometimes showed affection for his loved ones, he did not show mild emotion after a machismo slashing of his adopted son’s Ikemefuna’s head. If it was not a display of great violence like beating women and children, or fighting against other cultures, then it was too feminine for Okonkwo to classify with. “Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper… (Chapter 2, pg. 12) Through his examples of what a man should do, have, and be li...


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...m. Now living under the conditions of slaves, Njorobe took Ngotho’s role as the pivotal character display for fatherhood. To be a father, seeing your children as slaves is a great form of dehumanization and humiliation. The complexity of masculinity is shown through Ngotho’s failure as a father figure because he could not protect his family from slavery.
Houseboy written by Ferdinand Oyono recalls the life of a young boy named Toudi through his diary entries during the brutal colonization of the Cameroon. Toudi grew up wanting to be like his masters, the European men, however, as he grows up and ventures into the real world, he recognizes all the construct produced by these men to keep up a virile face in front of the oppressed. Oyono’s theme of masculinity is politically focused, expressing the Western views of man power forced onto the civilians of Cameroon.

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