Igbo Gender Roles

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Tamara Attia

Things Fall Apart Essay

In this novel, a lot of the traditional Igbo life is the way it is because of the organized gender roles. Basically, all of Igbo lifestyle is dependent on genders, like the characterization of crimes, and the different crops that women and men grow. Men, in this culture, are the stronger sex. Women are seen as weak beings, but are respected for certain things they do, such as bearing children. (Shmoop)

The role of a man is to be able to provide for his family to live and to be skillful and strong in battle. The role of a woman is to be purely a bride, to be an obedient wife, and to have many children. They are responsible for household duties, and for being submissive to their husbands. (Shmoop) Women
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Boys grow up thinking they are stronger and more important than women are. Fathers raise their sons to be courageous and to fear nothing. Women raise their daughters to be weak and gentle. They are taught to view themselves as accessories for men. Okonkwo said, "I will not have a son who cannot hold up his head in the gathering of the clan" (24). Men and women alike accept how they are supposed to act. They know what is expected of them. Women don 't object to washing the dishes, cooking food, and keeping the house clean. Men grow yam and cut wood for fires. Women are to plant melons, beans, and corn, and men plant yams, as "yam stood for manliness." …show more content…
He hates anything feminine, and wants to be only extremely masculine. (Shmoop) He wants the same for his sons. Okonkwo would tell his sons masculine stories about blood and battle. His daughters heard stories from his wives about how to win the approval of men, and how to carry themselves in order to please their husbands. Okonkwo 's son, Nwoye, "somehow still preferred the stories that his mother used to tell… stories of tortoise and his wily ways… But he knew that they were for foolish women and children, and he knew that his father wanted him to be a man. And so he feigned that he no longer cared for women 's stories. And when he did this he saw that his father was pleased and no longer rebuked him or beat him" (38).

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