The Role of Women in Chinua Achebe's Novel "Things Fall Apart"

Essay by dudkaHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 2006

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Women in Ibo society, although having only a few rights and serving their men, are important and inalienable parts of the tribe and its religion. Basically, the role of women in African society is to give birth to numerous children, to take care of them, to cook, to clean, to serve and obey their husbands and fathers. However, Chinua Achebe in his book "Things Fall Apart" shows that African women are actually strong and important for the religious ceremonies and life in general. They are needed even for such a strong, aggressive and manly person as Okonkwo, who hates woman and everything related to them.

For the characters in the book, women are not persons, but rather "things" that are to be used and exploited. Females are abused by male part of the society and have to serve them, almost as if women were slaves for their men. Their main duty is to give birth to children, as many as possible.

Women have to take care of their kids, tell them stories and feed as well.

However, those two duties are considered to be the most important things in life and nature. That's what all female animals do - give birth to a baby and take care of it while it is growing up. Ibo tribe and all other societies in the world respect and admire women because they are the source of life. It's due to the biological function that females have in the life-giving process, that the society has an idea that woman know the secret of life. The ability of women to give birth to a new life influenced a subconscious belief in their power. Achebe points out on this power by making Uchendu ask a memorable question that shows the real position of women in Ibo...