Masculinity: Slavery in the United States and Douglass Pg

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Gloria Kissiedu
World Literature 207
29 November 2011
Masculinity
Things Fall Apart was written in the 1890s, when whites went to Nigeria. The novel shows the clash between the white's and the culture of the Igbo people. The novel is about a man named Okonkwo, and his growth for respect, fortune and power which in the end leads to his expected death. His great power did not come to an end because of colonization, but rather his downfall was his obsession with masculinity. The narrative of Frederick Douglass also defines masculinity. The narrative of Frederick Douglass took place in America. During slavery, Frederick Douglass was limited to plantation work because blacks were not seen as being capable to achieve more in life but that did not stop him. Even though both men came from two different backgrounds, they both had a way of portraying their masculinity. There are many things in life that can either make us successful or leads us to failure. In things Fall Apart, Okonkwo's feared he will become a failure like his father. He struggled to be as different from his deceased father as possible. He believes his father to have been “weak, effeminate, lazy, ignominious, and poor. Consequently, Okonkwo strives to be strong, masculine, industrious, respected, and wealthy” (pg 4). This drove him to recklessness, and added to his death. He began to let the thought of fear of failure and of weakness to control his life through the novel (pg 13). Okonkwo believed felling an emotion or showing one was a sign of weakness. He said, “'When did you become a shivering old woman, Okonkwo asked himself, you, who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed” (pg 65). He began to talk to himself so much about how weak he was becoming. It got to the point where he believed showing an emotion was a sign of weakness. In...
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