The Portrayal of Women in Things Fall Apart Essay

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An image that comes of African women is usually a faceless and a voiceless being. There is always a tendency to look at them more or less than a slave. Chinua Achebe’s post-colonial novel, Things Fall Apart, do at some points of the novel support the case of the subjugated African women in the course of Okonkwo’s life through the practice of polygamy, paying bride price, and the atypical case of Okonkwo beating his wives at slight frustration. In Okonkwo’s eyes, women are mere property and the ones that keep a man sane. But, it is also through Okonkwo, we see women – mothers (Ekwefi), wives (Ojiugo), daughters (Ezinma), priestesses (Chielo, Ezeani) and goddesses (Ani) – who are revered and whose stature in the culture is paradoxical in …show more content…
Okonkwo dislikes Nwoye, due to his “womanish” characteristics like his father. He loves Ezinma because “she has the right spirit” unlike Nwoye, who as Okonkwo describes has “too much of his mother in him.” “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man”, it’s just that he suffers from a psychological problem, his tragic flaw, which is the irrational fear of being dubbed weak and gutless like his shameful father and this fear which dominates all his actions is what contributes to his tragic fall.
Achebe uses irony and paradox to deflate the male superiority. At first, the irony we see is right after killing Ikemefuna, Okonkwo was “ so weak that his legs could hardly carry him” and he asks himself “When did you become a shivering old woman.” Irony informs the reader of Okonkwo’s unintended murder. The man who prides himself as masculine commits a “female” crime which exiled him for seven years. His house is destroyed and he seeks refuge in Mbanta, his motherland. The more he fights towards masculinity; the female side comes up to save him. Though every aspect of life was to live opposite of his father who wasn’t properly buried due to his low staus in society, Okonkwo ends up hanging himself and in