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Feminist Criticism: Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

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Reading as A Woman... Feminist Criticism: Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart > The first impressions of women in the Ibo society Analyzing Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart from a woman's perspective we have explored both, the male characters and their dealings with women as well as women and the role they play in the Ibo society. Our first step was to re- read chapters one to five with a critical view, keeping the theme of 'first impressions of women in the Ibo society' in mind. We then proceeded to select quotes that substantiated our argument, providing supporting factual information. Two potent female characters stood out in Achebe's work, appealing to us, as women with enormous potential to influence and change the lives of the Ibo people. Ekwefi and Ezinma were the two roles that came to mind in our detailed study, we explored their contribution to the community as well as dissected their characteristics and personal traits from a feminist standpoint. After researching the topic in depth, we came to the conclusion that the Ibo society is commonplace for the subjugation of women, women that are caught in a mind warp that convinces them of their lower position in society blaming it on the supposed 'natural order'. Being strong feminists ourselves, the hardships and difficulties the Ibo women face in Things Fall Apart evoked empathy within us, yet we remained focused paying close attention to what the question asks, thereby allowing us to react and interpret with a clear, objective stand. ...read more.


Both men as well as the women see no wrong in the system of polygamy, and accept it as if the notion of other possible lifestyle, mannerism and behavioral patterns do not exist. In all fairness, the Ibo society must be awarded some leeway, given the fact that the lived in a closed, early civilization that had no encounters, experience or reference points to the rest of the world. Born and raised as a girl child, stifled by complicated and confused conforms of society, women are taught to live and abide within a set of farfetched complexities. This complete disregard for rights and absolute repression, reduces if not exempts the society from the potential attributes and improvements the women have to offer. Instead forcing them to comply within strict regulatory customs and tradition that bind them through religion, to the steadfast belief of being 'the weaker sex'. Typically, the place of women in Ibo society is in the home. Traditionally she would be a caring wife, receptive to her husbands' needs, wants, whims and fancies, fitting the most honourable and 'womanly' mould desired by every Ibo man. She must be sufficiently provident in terms of bearing of children, particularly sons to ensure the succession of strong, warrior traits, the preparation and serving of meals and the duty of maintaining an immaculate home whilst raising her children within the norms and values of their Ibo culture. ...read more.


Okonkwo considers both to be men that have prominent feminine qualities. The highest form of insult would be to call a man a woman, a common derogatory term used frequently in Things Fall Apart with sited examples such as: "Sit like a woman!", "No, that is a boy's job.", "Go home and work like a man.", and " " " 'This meeting is for men.' The man who had contradicted him had no titles. That was why he had called him a woman." Diverging from the first impressions of women in the Ibo society in the cultural and traditional aspect of the community, let us shift our attention to the author of Things Fall Apart. Chinua Achebe is labeled not just as a great African literatary master and enthusiast, but also as a world- renowned author, recognized internationally for his simplistic yet poignant style of writing. We must not narrow our research to the setting, people and culture, instead allow for Achebe's aims for having written the novel, and more importantly why and what influenced his portrayal of women to come through. At the same time we cannot forget or choose to ignore the clauses and conditions of their somewhat fundamentalist culture. Achebe is merely a writer with the task of documenting an informative narration of the Umofian people, and although it allows room for his personal views and interpretations, he remains bound within the setting he has chosen, namely the Ibo society. 1 1 ...read more.

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