Feminity of Chinua Achebe

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Some of the reasons for this behavior have already been discussed; the society of Things Fall Apart was simply reflecting actual society, and men behaved disrespectfully toward women because they thought it was acceptable. Some of Okonkwo's behavior, however, was also prompted by his desire to remain 'manly' in the eyes of his peers. Okonkwo does not wish to be like his father, who "was an untitled man, connoting femininity" (Mezu 2). He hates his son, because he believes Nwoye to be "effeminate" (Achebe 7) and following in his father's footsteps. So, in a desire to stay as far from a female image as possible, he hides his emotions and focuses not on his family, but on gathering power and titles. He even goes so far as to kill Ikemefuna, whom he loved like a son, and who was influencing his own son Nwoye in a positive way. Okonkwo doesn't let himself feel any emotion after the death, which he was not even required to be a part of, telling himself not to "become like a shivering old woman" (Achebe 72). The only female character that receives positive attention from Okonkwo is his daughter Ezinma, whom Okonkwo only loves because she seems more like a son than Nwoye. Yet he still refuses to show affection, even for his favorite child, in an effort to remain masculine.

The largest consequence of missing a strong female authority in Things Fall Apart is, of course, the downfall of Okonkwo. He has never seen the positive influence of a woman, except the priestess Chielo; yet even she does not have enough power over him, and he ignores her advice involving the death of Ikemefuna. Regular women have no say in his behavior, and only those "removed from the pale of normalcy" (Mezu 4), acting under the cover of magic or religion, receive any sort of respect. All the negative feelings he has for the laziness and supposed 'femininity' of his father and transferred into feelings of disgust at any femininity in himself and his son. If Okonkwo were not so pre-occupied with...
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