Women are taught to mother, while men are conditioned to dominate and control. ” This book is about the story of a man, Okonkwo, who is a member in the Igbo community. You gain an insight on the life of their village as well as the certain roles in their society. In Things Fall Apart, the women are portrayed to do the stereotypical aspects of womanhood and men are portrayed to do the expected duties of men. First of all, with the female characters, they are portrayed to do womanly duties. These are things like bearing children, cooking, staying at home to care of the children and to clean up the house.
They are to submit to their husbands absolutely. In Reading As A Woman: Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart And Feminist Criticism by Linda Strong-Leek, she explains the way women are viewed in this society: “In Things Fall Apart (1969), women are viewed mainly as child bearers and help mates for their husbands. Due to the phallocentric notion that women must produce many hardy, male progenies to be valued within their cultural milieu, Ekwefi (one of Okonkwo’s wives) is considered a cursed woman because after ten live births, only one child- a daughter- survives”(Strong-Leek).
If you are not able to birth a child in this time, you are nothing and all respect that people could possibly have for you as a woman will be gone. For the female characters, gender extremely influenced the choices and decisions they have made and these choices would have been different if these characters were here today. One of the wives of Okonkwo, Ekwefi, would be one of the characters that there gender influenced their choices. As mentioned earlier, out of all 10 children born, only 1 lived. This has already isolated her from the other wives who are able to have more children.
With the pressures of being a woman who can’t perform the most important womanly duty, she devotes all her time to the only child she has left. Her daughter Ezinma. Her decision to do this was brought on by the duty that she is supposed to have as a woman but she is not able to fulfill properly. If the character Enzima was here today, she would most likely still have to same decisions and opinions. “There is one women, or young girl who elicits pure love from all the lives she touches, even her father, Okonkwo.
However, he cannot fully appreciate Ezinma as a person, Instead of admiring her for her strength and disposition as a burgeoning woman, Okonkwo is saddened by the fact that she is not a male” (Strong-Leek). With the qualities described here of Enzima, there would be no change in her decisions. Second of all, men are to perform the duties of a man. They are to do farm work, earn as many titles as possible and marry multiple wives with a big compound and obi (sitting room, for the male head of house and guests).
Okonkwo is one of the main symbols of masculinity in his village. They look at him as as a role model for other fathers how their sons should be. In Literary Analysis of Things Fall Apart, the writer explains men in this society: “To men, women exist in a world in which they are “to be seen not heard” coming and going, with mounds of foofoo (made with wheat flour and eaten with soup), pots of water, market baskets, fetching kola, being scolded and beaten before they disappear behind the huts of the compound” (Literary Analysis of Things Fall Apart).
They expect to be obeyed, nothing less or more. At one point during the story, Okonkwo beat one of his wives severely because she went to have her hair braided and forgot to cook dinner. The men are to be answered to by their wives. Though the influence on gender may have created in negative decisions and choices from males, if they were to be here today, there decisions and choices would be different. They would most likely be more caring and may slowly accept that women can be equals.
According to the author of Literary Analysis of Things Fall Apart: “ Because of Okonkwo’s objection to everything feminine, he has a rocky relationship with his father. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo refers to his father, Unoka, as an “agbala. ” Unoka, was extremely artistic musically gifted, coward-like, and in great debt. These are all the things Okonkwo related to being feminine. All of the hate for his father’s weaknesses led him to be cruel to the true feminine species”.
If he were to be here now, he may not have had that strong resent for his father because he wouldn’t have to prove himself to be the society’s views of a man. His choices and decisions would have been extremely different had believed in our modern society. In conclusion, the male characters were portrayed to be strong work on farms while the women were portrayed to have children, cook and clean. The influence of gender definitely impacted the decisions and choices that were made by both male and female. If the characters were to live here, the choices they would have made as male and female would have been different.