Things Fall Apart Role Of Women In

Things Fall Apart: Role Of Women In The Ibo Culture Essay, Research Paper The Role of Women in the Ibo Culture The culture in which ‘’Things Fall Apart’’ is centered

Things Fall Apart: Role Of Women In The Ibo Culture Essay, Research Paper

The Role of Women in the Ibo Culture

The culture in which ‘’Things Fall Apart’’ is centered

around is one where patriarchal testosterone is supreme and

oppresses all females into a nothingness. They are to be

seen and not heard, farming, caring for animals, raising

children, carrying foo-foo, pots of water, and kola.

The role of women in the Ibo culture was mostly

domestic. The men saw them as material possessions and

thought of them as a source of children and as cooks. As a

man made his way in life by farming yams, he needed a

strong workforce. This workforce included his wives and

children. A man would have many wives. The more wives and

children a man had, the more honor and respect he received.

If a man had dishonored himself in the eyes of the other

men belonging to the tribe by acting in a cowardly way or

by being lazy, they called him a woman for insult.

A man was to rule the household with a heavy hand.

Okonkwo’s wives and children lived in fear of his quick

temper (13). When his youngest wife was not home in time

to cook him lunch one day, he beat her severely when she

returned home (29). Another of his wives cut some leaves

off of a banana tree to wrap food. When he saw the tree,

he beat her for killing it, even though the tree was

clearly quite alive (38). When Okonkwo was near his

daughter Ezinma, he would think to himself, ‘’She should

have been a boy.’’ Apparently, a girl was not capable

providing him with sense of pride.

In the Ibo culture, when a woman was to be married,

the family of her suitor would come and inspect her to be

sure she was beautiful and ripe enough to be a part of

their family. A woman did not have any value other than

her beauty and her abilities to cook and bear children.

In a conversation between Okonkwo and his friend

Obierika, they spoke of two other villages where their

‘’customs are all upside down’’ and ‘’titled men climb

trees and pound foo-foo for their wives’’ (73). They spoke

of other tribes where the children belong to the wives and

their families. ‘’You might as well say that the woman

lies on top of the man when they are making the children.’’

This remark makes it seem that there is no ‘love-making’ in

this culture, but only ‘child-making,’ in which the woman

has no real role.

In a description of a ceremony, ‘’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). The women were not included

in discussions, councils, nor were they made part of the

masquerades of the ancestral spirits.

There is only one woman who wields a commanding

force in the village. She is Chielo, the priestess of the

Oracle of the Hills and Caves. Only she can scold and

curse Okonkwo. Yet, while Okonkwo is powerless before

Chielo, he can still control his own women.

In present day, The Rock could be likened to Okonkwo.

He is most known for his motto, ‘’Know your role and shut

the hell up.’’ It is a terrible thing for women to still

be subjected to this kind of treatment in a society as far

advanced as our own. I’m glad that I have the opportunity

to say and do as I please. And I’m happy when I surpass

those who tried to stand in my way. The Rock and the rest

of the men who want to keep their women barefoot and

pregnant can know their role and shut the hell up. I don’t

have to get married and have children. I don’t have to be

inferior to anyone. I can live to my full potential and

vocation, unlike the women in the Ibo culture or the

submissive housewives of America fifty years ago.

I suppose I can never fully understand how the Ibo

culture works because I have never experienced anything

like it. If I had been born into it, I would probably

never question my role in society.