Female Role in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Acheebe
Discuss the function of ladies in the novel. How are feminine qualities of the Ibo culture crucial to its survival? Females: Weak Gender?! In the unique “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe we are presented to a various Africa than most of us understand. We take a trip back in time and go to the pre-colonial Africa, more specifically Nigeria, to a village known as Umofia where the Ibo people live. The Ibo people form a really antiquated and farming based society.
Achebe presents us to this new world that was seen by the Europeans as an unsociable and savage place and shows that the African culture was destroyed by the arrival of the Europeans in that land. But not just that, he brings up various points of social analysis like religion, the taboo “white individuals vs. black individuals” throughout the colonial period and the function of females within the Ibo Society. Which is precisely the point I will be approaching in this essay: the female existence in the society and their value for/in the society.
All over the world and in various cultures and societies ladies are not treated as equals and throughout the years they earned their area and status in society with effort. And it is no different in the novel “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe. Ladies, in the Ibo culture, are represented as having no power or social status but are still strong figures. This characterization is true to some extent, as throughout the unique the different roles of women and their involvement in the society are unwinded.
In the novel, the readers follow the history of Okonkwo, some sort of hero in the village of Umofia. He is very strong in every sense of the word and his greatest attribute is to never consent with weak point and failure. And the language used within his society makes the connection in between ‘weak point’ and ‘females’. Okonkwo himself used to be called “Agbala” as a kid, which in his society is meant for a man who has no titles or a “female” (when it comes to an insult) for it is a female’s name.
In one episode, after eliminating Ikemefuna, Okonkwo asks himself “when did you become a shivering old woman?” (Page 45). Such connections define women as the weak part of the society. Another characteristic in the society that indicates the little power women have is the activities they are enrolled with. They are designated to really stereotyped tasks for a society that has ladies with no social status. They are restrained to housekeeping, preparing their partners’ meals and also for the celebrations. They have no considerable presence in the rituals.
A more point that compromises the female existence in this society is that they enable partner whipping. In the unique, there are two instances where Okonkwo is beating his second better half, however he is punished for just one of them because it occurs during their “Week of Peace”, the time where no man shall raise their hand to another and no impolite words ought to be addressed. However, Achebe likewise reveals that important roles and qualities are given to women. A perfect example of powerful female figures is the function females play in religious beliefs.
Females typically are the priestess of the tribe. In chapter three (page 12) there is a passage describing these characters “The priestess in those days, was a lady called Chika.” And there is also a reference to today priestess (page 34) “(…) was called Chielo, the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves.” And the priestess Chielo, is in truth, the only female figure (or the only figure, for that matter) who provides an order to Okonkwo in the celebration when she comes for Okonkwo’s daughter, Ezinma. ‘Beware, Okonkwo!’ she alerted”. She’s not just purchasing him to offer his daughter however also threating him also. Continuing in the religious line, they revere a number of Goddess. And among them is in truth an extremely respected and crucial figure for them. The Earth Goddess, Ani. As a matter of truth, the “Week of Peace” remains in her honor. A variety of examples of the power of these ladies spray throughout the novel: women carrying out various jobs with considerable significance. They are the ones who paint your homes of the egwugwu. The spirits of the forefathers.) In the first pages of the book it is likewise discussed that the most potent war medicine they have actually is called after a lady. And it is also possible to see, how the first partner of every guy is paid some respect for she is the just who is allowed to use the anklets of her spouse’s titles and likewise, during the Palm-wine event, where the first partner is the first to consume and the others need to wait for her. Another ideal example of women’s power is their emotional strength.
This is not specific in the unique but trough the reading it ends up being apparent how they conquer their status (or the absence of it) in society, mistreatment and other miseries– when, for instance, they bring to life twins and need to throw them in the Evil Forest–. Under these scenarios one has to be mentally strong to survive and that is exactly what these ladies do. In chapter 10, a severe case of whipping is brought to the egwugwu and the Evil Forest can be found in the other half’s favor and says “It is not bravery when a male fights with a lady. (page 66) Another evidence of trust is the performances of women in farming, where they are designated to prepare the field for the yams in which if it is not done properly the yams fail. So it is a really important job. However above all things, the most essential function assembled to women appears when Okonkwo is banished in his motherland. The idea of females’s power being carefully linked to nature is brought up by Okonkwo’s uncle, Uchendu, when he reproaches Okonkwo for his sadness about having to come to deal with his mom’s clan.
He states: “It’s true that a child belong to its dad. But when a dad beats his child, it looks for sympathy in its mom’s hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are great and life is sweet. But when there is grief and bitterness he discovers haven in his motherland. Your mother exists to secure you. She is buried there. Which is why we say that mom is supreme” (page 94) The concept conveyed in his speech is that the female is the foundation of the clan and its individuals. She is the one you can always rely on.
To conclude, at a first look the function of women is this society might appear incredibly minimal and they are harshly quelched socially. However through the novel one can see that they in reality have significant positions. Spiritually, as the priestess and the Oracle, symbolically as the Goddesses and likewise as the basis of the society. And likewise, literally for their real responsibilities in farming, which is important for this society. They may appear to be towered above, but they make up in fact some of the strings that hold the Ibo people together until it breaks down.