AP World History
Summer Reading Assignment
Throughout history, men have had their own vision of how to act. A man’s idea of his own masculinity can alter the way he treats and acts towards women. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo grew up watching his father and he didn’t approve of the way he behaved. Therefore, he decided that as he grew up, he didn’t want to be anything like his father. This results in his violent and rigorous behavior, as well as his unequal treatment towards women.
As he was growing up, Okonkwo had a strong hatred for his father, Unoka. He fears becoming like him as he gets older, so he tries to be completely unlike him in every way possible. To avoid possessing Unoka’s traits, Okonkwo acts violently without thinking. He has a bad temper and often associates his father with weakness and with weakness he associates femininity. Because Okonkwo tries so hard to be different from his father, he believes that in the way he acts he is showing masculinity, but in reality it ruins his relationships and causes tension within his community. Okonkwo’s twelve-year-old son, Nwoye, is seen by his father as weak and lazy, and he is continually beaten because Okonkwo feels that anger is the only emotion that a man should display.
Okonkwo is a very wealthy man with three wives. His father was referred to as “agbala,” which in his clan’s language means “woman.” But mainly, Okonkwo does not live by what his clan believes is “manly.” Instead, he associates masculinity with violence and aggression, and frequently beats and abuses his wives and family, sometimes even threatening to kill them. Okonkwo sees himself as the one and only man in charge in his family, and doesn’t care about or listen to what anyone’s opinion is, especially if the opinion is coming from a woman.
The women in this novel have a mutual interaction with each other, as they are there for one another in support. For example, Okonkwo’s wives often try to protect each other... [continues]
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"Ap World History Summer Reading." StudyMode.com. 10, 2011. Accessed 10, 2011. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Ap-World-History-Summer-Reading-791794.html.