The Role of Women in Society - Things Fall Apart Compared to Mother Was a Great Man

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The Role of Women in Society

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, demonstrates the original and traditional cultures of African, predominantly the Igbo culture. In traditional Igbo culture, men are perceived as the dominant and most powerful sex, while women are perceived as weak lesser people. Although women seem to play an inferior role in society, there are many traditions that exemplify the value and importance of women to males in society. Although women are mistreated, the Igbo society assigns important roles to the women. Women are the ones who paint the egwugwu house, the house to the most powerful and most secret cult in the clan. “Many colored patterns and drawings done by specially chosen women at regular intervals” (88). Because men are the dominant sex, it would seem that they would have the honor of decorating this sacred house. The fact that women have the privilege of decorating the house of the most important cult in the clan, demonstrates the hidden respect for women in this culture. Part of the Igbo culture is to show respect to the first wife of the household. This is illustrated by the palm wine ceremony at Nwakibie's obi. Anasi, Nwakibie's first wife, had not yet arrived to the ceremony and so his other wives were not allowed to drink the wine until she had arrived. “Anasi was the first wife and the others could not drink before her, and so they stood waiting” (20). The respect for the first wife of the household is evident. Although respect for the other wives is not clearly shown, in a way they are receiving respect just because one person of their gender is. Nwakibie could have easily let his other wives drink before his first wife, but he did not because of the respect he has for Anasi. Nwakibie noticed that Anasi was not present and then took the time to wait for her to come so that she would be given the proper respect. The important of women also appears when Okonkwo is exiled to his motherland. Okonkwo’s uncle, Uchendu, notices...
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