Things fall apart 5

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Polygamy in Things Fall Apart It is obvious that in reading Things Fall Apart that polygamy was alive and well in the village of Umuofia. Not only was it accepted it was expected.

Men's wealth was judged by their huge barns [and their] number of wives and children. The more wives a man had, usually meant more children. If a man had several wives and many offspring, he of course had to provide for all of them, hence more land [was] needed for planting crops, and more barns for storing food. Men seemed to benefit greatly from having more than one wife, but did they really? A man was not only judged by the amount of wives, children, crops, and barns that he had, but also judged on how he ruled his women and what control he had over them.

In Things Fall Apart, the tribe was preparing for the New Yam Festival. Okonkwo had three wives at the time of the festival. As Okonkwo sat in his hut, each wife sent a dish in order of importance. Wife number one sent the first dish and so on. Not a bad set up if Okonkwo did not like what his first wife prepared, he had two more meals to fall back on. If a man's first wife did not produce the sons he longed for, he had other wives to impregnate and hope they would produce the sons he desired. In Things Fall Apart, the book seems to depict men as getting all the benefits of polygamy, or do they? What about the relationships between the wives? Do they all get along? Are they jealous of one another? Can a man really live with more than one wife in total peace? For example wife number one bears...