Role of Women in Things Fall Apart

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Role of Women in Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart gives us a vivid description of the Igbo culture through the stories of Okonkwo and his village, Umuofia. In regards to Igbo culture, contributions of women cannot be ignored. Although their position and status seems to be underestimated by the people in the novel, women do play an important role in the Igbo culture in four aspects: women take care of the children, do all the housework, serve as priestesses, and build relationships with other villages. Women who are mothers take the responsibility to care for the children. In tribal culture, women undertake the mission of educating the children through storytelling. One example is Ezinma’s mother, Ekwefi, who tells her daughter the fairy tale about the Tortoise: “Tortoise saw all these preparations and soon discovered what it all meant… That is why Tortoise's shell is not smooth” (p. 88). Fairy tales like this often come with codes of conduct and ethics, which are, in this case, teaching the children not to lie to other people, not to trust people who always lie, and that evildoings deserve punishments. In Igbo culture, storytelling is the main method to educate younger generations. Furthermore, mothers are the protectors of their children. For example, Uchendu says, “But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you” (p. 120). Even Okonkwo needs his mother to protect him when the strongest warrior in the village meets adverse situation, though his mother is dead. Those words are also an explanation of why the mother is supreme in Igbo culture. Therefore, protecting the children shows the importance of women in the novel since women make a great contribution to maintain the existence of the tribe. Women as housewives do most of the housework. When men work outside, their wives take the responsibility to keep houses. Achebe describes a typical activity, “Nwoye's mother is already...
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