Significance of Women in Things Fall Apart

Topics: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, Igbo people Pages: 3 (979 words) Published: December 11, 2011
Significance of Women
In the blink of an eye everything can change. In areas of the lower Niger, Okonkwo, the main character of Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, experiences this sudden change. Okonkwo lives in a village Umuofia, where men are seen to be superior to women. Okonkwo is banished from his village and seven years later when he comes back he is disappointed to see his manly village turn, “soft like women” (183). Throughout the novel Ibo women can be seen as mistreated because of the way they are treated and talked about. For example, Ibo men believe the worst insult someone can receive is being called a woman. To vague readers Achebe’s novel could seem sexist towards men, but a deeper reader will notice that women are equivalent to men. Achebe represents Ibo women to be equal to men by their prominent roles in motherhood, traditions, and religion. Women in Ibo society must love, care, and educate their child. At night, Okonkwo’s wives and children get together for story time, where the women read to their children. After the nightly routine of story telling Achebe shows the significant role of a mother by writing, “Low voices, broken now and again by singing, reached Okonkwo from his wives’ huts as each woman and her children told folk stories” (96). This scenario illustrates how men hand off the importance of educating their children to women. Okonkwo likes to be in charge, but when it comes to educating, feeding, and caring for his children he trusts his wives enough to fulfill those everyday responsibilities. Later in the novel, when Okonkwo is exiled after mistakenly killing a boy in the village by a misfire, he goes to Mbanta. Mbanta is his motherland. Okonkwo seeks sympathy and understanding so he goes to a place he knows he’ll be welcome. In fact, when he arrives in Mbanta his uncle, Uchendu explains to Okonkwo not to grieve about coming to his motherland by explaining, “When a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its...
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