The Role of Women in "Things Fall Apart", by Chinua Achebe.

Essay by busterannUniversity, Bachelor'sA, November 2005

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Woman of Umuofia.

In the novel, "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe, the arrival of the white man, changes the society of the Ibo people. The Ibo culture is very simple, and may seem silly, but is justified by them. They have a social class order and women are never part of it. The women in Ibo society are dominated by the men. The main character Okonkwo, struggles throughout the novel with himself and the fear of being portrayed as womanly, for this is a sign of weakness in the Ibo civilization.

The people of Umuofia have a functioning society. They use their religion as their primary focus on life. Religion is their explanation to the unknown. They believe strongly in their "chi" or personal god. The Ibo people were faithful to their gods and perpetual on their traditions. The men in this tribe are the head of the household, very strong, and were to be warrior-like.

Throughout the novel, women have no significant status. During special meetings within their community, women are to be seen and not heard. "It was clear from the way the crowd stood or sat that the ceremony was for men. There were many women, but they looked on from the fringe like outsiders."(87) They have no say in any major decisions; they do what they are told, as if they are slaves. Since women were characterized as weak and men as strong, being thought of as womanly was a disgrace. "Agala was not only another name for a woman, it could also mean a man who had taken no title."(13)

Wife beating is very common in Umuofia. There was an incident in which Okonkwo beat one of his wives, Ojiugo, when she did not come home to make his meal. "He beat her...