Throughout time, women have been oppressed and had to struggle in several
different places and throughout all different time periods; female suffering over time,
has become a hot topic of examination and argument. Both Chinua Achebe's tragic work
Things Fall Apart, as well as the article "Women in Achebe's World" written by feminist
professor and literary critic Rose Ure Mezu, examine the intricate roles both men and
women play in society. While Achebe's novel relays no contentment for dominated and
exploited women, Mezu's work analyzes the complex role women play in Achebe's
novel. The vast differences between the men and women in Igbo culture are seen from
the observable male domination in all aspects of life, the contrasting roles each gender
assumes in the marriage ceremony and the complicated positioning of female deities on
the realm of religious devotion.
The traditional male command of all social characteristics reveal the tremendous
differences between the two sexes in the Umuofia tribe.
The extent of the male complex
is evident through the clan's farming customs. Achebe relates that "Yam stood for
manliness, and he who could feed his family on yams from one harvest to another was a
very great man indeed" (33). This parallel between the chief crop and males is expected.
Mezu relates how "...the yam -- is synonymous with virility." Women are not seen
farming, and rarely outside, far form contact with these important crops; as Mezu
communicates, they are embarking on more feminine activities, rather "tending animals,
[and] nurturing children." It is somewhat comical that this relationship is so extensive
that it is seen even in the field of agriculture, but is a clear validation of the social
strictures. Additionally, the ceremonial village gathering with the egwugwu embodies the
male superiority in the tribe. The egwugwu materialize from...