Other America Essay

Submitted By Lindsay88
Words: 1177
Pages: 5

In the book Things Fall Apart, the author, Chinua Achebe, wants the read not to judge Okonkwo and his people of the Iguedo village, he wants the reader to understand and relate to their lifestyle and beliefs. Achebe wants the reader to see the whole picture. In Okonkwo’s village he is known as a stern, warrior. But unlike most other men in his village he did not earn his wealth through his father. Okonkwo had to build his farm and hut with his own hands and his own reputation is what allowed him to do that. He is proud to have three wives all of which have their own obi, or hut. Success for men is measured by their accomplishments that actuate their manliness and wealth. Okonkwo is successful in his village because he is a warrior who took the heads of five others during battle. Also he won the previous year’s wrestling match against a seven year champion proving his strength and manliness along with his wealth and size of yams. This is the most important thing in Okonkwo’s life; to show that he is a man, unlike his father. He resents his father because his represents everything that is viewed as weak or agbala known as womanly. Okonkwo is so set on being different than his father and seen as a man by his people that it is his ultimate fall and results in him taking his own life.
In Okonkwo’s village anything that is weak is a representation of a woman because to him and his people woman are weak and the property of men. That is why fathers sell their daughters for a ‘bride-price’ to a suitor they find to be strong and manly enough, for they own them and can do as they wish with them. Just as Okonkwo told his favorite daughter, Ezinma, that she was not to marry until they returned from their 7 year exile. Women are also beaten when then do something that is unpleasing to their husband. Though Okonkwo thinks that he is manly in beating his wives and children to run a strict household, the egwugwu, say that “that it is not brave when a man fights with a woman.” However, there are things that women do making them deserve punishment from there husband and establish hierarchy. Even when Okonkwo beats his wife for coming home late during the Week of Peace the priestess, who is a woman, is not upset with Okonkwo for beating his wife, she even says that his wife was wrong. The priestess was upset with Okonkwo for breaking the Weak of Peace and cursing his village.
For the book, Things Fall Apart, I am going to compared and contrast some of the parts I have just highlighted about the book. I will discuss marriage and how it is viewed in the United States. I will also talk about the role of being a man, the view of women, and the role of religion.
Marriage in the Umuofia clan is an agreement among men. Fathers sell their daughters to the best suitor for a ‘bride-price’ which is agreed on by both parties. This shows a sort of class structure within the community. Men of a higher class can offer more for a woman of higher class. Class is determined by the size of your farm, the number of yams you have, and your war accomplishments. There is no status for women in their society, because they have ownership of nothing. Women are judged by whether or not they are married, and whether or not they have children, and how many.
Marriage in Western culture, though changing, is similar to marriage in the Iguedo village. Marriage in the Western civilization has origin in many different ancient cultures of which the Roman, Hebrew, and Germanic are the most influential. http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/ATLAS_EN/html/history_of_marriage_in_western.html. As we all know, the Christian church and their policies have greatly influenced the western beliefs and traditions of marriage. Up until recently marriage in our culture was an arranged agreement between two families, such as marriage is in the Iguedo village. By families, I mean the fathers, and husband to be. Women had very little voice in the matter, and love was rarely part of the deal.