Things Fall Apart- Analysis of Gender Streotypes

Topics: Things Fall Apart, Gender, Woman Pages: 3 (947 words) Published: February 24, 2014
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

“Women are taught to mother, while men are conditioned to dominate and control.” This book is about the story of a man, Okonkwo, who is a member in the Igbo community. You gain an insight on the life of their village as well as the certain roles in their society. In Things Fall Apart, the women are portrayed to do the stereotypical aspects of womanhood and men are portrayed to do the expected duties of men.

First of all, with the female characters, they are portrayed to do womanly duties. These are things like bearing children, cooking, staying at home to care of the children and to clean up the house. They are to submit to their husbands absolutely. In Reading As A Woman: Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart And Feminist Criticism by Linda Strong-Leek, she explains the way women are viewed in this society: “In Things Fall Apart (1969), women are viewed mainly as child bearers and help mates for their husbands. Due to the phallocentric notion that women must produce many hardy, male progenies to be valued within their cultural milieu, Ekwefi (one of Okonkwo’s wives) is considered a cursed woman because after ten live births, only one child- a daughter- survives”(Strong-Leek). If you are not able to birth a child in this time, you are nothing and all respect that people could possibly have for you as a woman will be gone. For the female characters, gender extremely influenced the choices and decisions they have made and these choices would have been different if these characters were here today. One of the wives of Okonkwo, Ekwefi, would be one of the characters that there gender influenced their choices. As mentioned earlier, out of all 10 children born, only 1 lived. This has already isolated her from the other wives who are able to have more children. With the pressures of being a woman who can’t perform the most important womanly duty, she devotes all her time to the only child she has left. Her daughter Ezinma. Her...

Cited: "Literary Analysis of Things Fall Apart" 09 2006. 2014. 01 2014 .
Strong-Leek, L., 2001. “Reading As A Woman: Chinua Ahebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ and Feminist Criticism.” African Studies Quarterly 5(2): 2. [online] URL:
Chinua Achebe - Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart : A Novel - New York - Broadway Books - 1994 - ISBN: 9780385474542
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