The Role Of Women In Things Fall Apart

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The Role of Women in Things Fall Apart In society, both males and females take distinct roles. It is those roles that keep "life" functioning; but which role is more important? Often times, women are degraded and forced into the roles viewed "unnecessary". This is what happened in the Ibo society during Chinua Achebe's book, Things Fall Apart. The presence of women was never really acknowledged, however, it was a backbone of society. Although in Chinua Achebe's book, Things Fall Apart women are portrayed as weak and inferior, their role is vital to Ibo society.

First of all, women must be crucial because they serve as a comparison yardstick for men to measure themselves. When Okonkwo is troubled by Ikemefuna's death, he asks himself, "˜"When did you become a shivering old women?'" (62) Following Nyowe's conversion to Christianity Okonkwo notes, "˜A flaming fire could have begotten a son like Nwoye, degenerate and effeminate.'

(143) This illustrates that whenever a man is acting "sensitive" or "emotional" he is called a woman, as if an insult. Nyowe displeased his father. Upon Okonkwo gaining resentment, Nwoye became a woman. If Okonkwo didn't diminunize women, what would have been the insult for Nwoye? It is obvious that women give the Ibo men that prerogative, therefore they are very important.

Secondly, women are critical because they complete the smaller, yet very needed jobs in society. Women painted the house of the egwugwu (84), the high council in the tribe. They also cooked and took care of the children. In fact, the children lived with their mothers. As Okonkwo tells his first wife upon the arrival of Ikemefuna, "˜"He belongs to the clan"¦So look after him"' (12). Often times, looking after the children is among the hardest of household jobs, and it is completed...



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