Female Function in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Acheebe
Discuss the role of females in the book. How are feminine qualities of the Ibo culture crucial to its survival? Ladies: Weak Gender?! In the unique “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe we are introduced to a various Africa than the majority of us understand. We travel back in time and go to the pre-colonial Africa, more specifically Nigeria, to a town referred to as Umofia where the Ibo individuals live. The Ibo people form a really antiquated and agriculture based society.
Achebe introduces us to this brand-new world that was seen by the Europeans as an unsociable and savage location and shows that the African culture was damaged by the arrival of the Europeans in that land. However not just that, he raises various points of social analysis like religion, the taboo “white individuals vs. black individuals” throughout the colonial duration and the function of females within the Ibo Society. And that is exactly the point I will be approaching in this essay: the female presence in the society and their importance for/in the society.
All over the world and in various cultures and societies females are not treated as equates to and throughout the years they made their space and status in society with effort. And it is no various in the novel “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe. Females, in the Ibo culture, are portrayed as having no power or social status however are still strong figures. This characterization is true to some extent, as throughout the unique the diverse roles of females and their involvement in the society are deciphered.
In the novel, the readers follow the history of Okonkwo, some sort of hero in the town of Umofia. He is really strong in every sense of the word and his most significant characteristic is to never ever consent with weak point and failure. And the language utilized within his society makes the connection in between ‘weak point’ and ‘ladies’. Okonkwo himself used to be called “Agbala” as a child, which in his society is indicated for a male who has no titles or a “lady” (as for an insult) for it is a lady’s name.
In one episode, after eliminating Ikemefuna, Okonkwo asks himself “when did you become a shivering old female?” (Page 45). Such connections characterize ladies as the weak part of the society. Another characteristic in the society that suggests the little power ladies have is the activities they are registered with. They are assigned to extremely stereotyped jobs for a society that has females without any social status. They are restrained to housekeeping, cooking their spouses’ meals and likewise for the celebrations. They have no significant existence in the routines.
An additional point that weakens the female existence in this society is that they allow wife whipping. In the novel, there are two instances where Okonkwo is beating his 2nd spouse, but he is punished for only one of them since it happens during their “Week of Peace”, the time where no man shall raise their hand to another and no impolite words ought to be resolved. Nonetheless, Achebe also shows that important functions and attributes are offered to ladies. A best example of powerful female figures is the role ladies play in religion.
Ladies typically are the priestess of the tribe. In chapter three (page 12) there is a passage referring to these characters “The priestess in those days, was a woman called Chika.” And there is also a referral to the present priestess (page 34) “(…) was called Chielo, the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves.” And the priestess Chielo, remains in reality, the only woman figure (or the only figure, for that matter) who gives an order to Okonkwo in the event when she comes for Okonkwo’s child, Ezinma. ‘Beware, Okonkwo!’ she warned”. She’s not only ordering him to provide his child but also threating him as well. Continuing in the spiritual line, they revere a number of Goddess. And one of them remains in fact a highly appreciated and important figure for them. The Earth Goddess, Ani. As a matter of fact, the “Week of Peace” is in her honor. A variety of examples of the power of these ladies spray throughout the novel: ladies performing different tasks with substantial importance. They are the ones who paint the houses of the egwugwu. The spirits of the ancestors.) In the first pages of the book it is also mentioned that the most powerful war medication they have is named after a woman. And it is also possible to see, how the very first wife of every guy is paid some regard for she is the only who is allowed to use the anklets of her spouse’s titles and also, throughout the Palm-wine event, where the very first partner is the first to consume and the others have to await her. Another ideal example of ladies’s power is their emotional strength.
This is not explicit in the novel however trough the reading it becomes apparent how they overcome their status (or the lack of it) in society, mistreatment and other bad luck– when, for instance, they give birth to twins and need to toss them in the Evil Forest–. Under these scenarios one needs to be emotionally strong to make it through and that is precisely what these women do. In chapter 10, a severe case of beating is brought to the egwugwu and the Evil Forest comes in the partner’s favor and says “It is not bravery when a male fights with a lady. (page 66) Another proof of trust is the efficiencies of females in farming, where they are designated to prepare the field for the yams in which if it is refrained from doing properly the yams stop working. So it is a very essential job. But above all things, the most important feature put together to females appears when Okonkwo is exiled in his motherland. The idea of females’s power being closely connected to nature is raised by Okonkwo’s uncle, Uchendu, when he reproaches Okonkwo for his sorrow about needing to come to cope with his mother’s clan.
He states: “It holds true that a child come from its dad. But when a daddy beats his kid, it seeks compassion in its mother’s hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is grief and bitterness he finds sanctuary in his motherland. Your mom exists to secure you. She is buried there. Which is why we state that mom is supreme” (page 94) The concept communicated in his speech is that the female is the structure of the clan and its people. She is the one you can constantly depend on.
To conclude, at a first look the function of ladies is this society might seem incredibly restricted and they are harshly repressed socially. However through the unique 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 also, literally for their real tasks in farming, which is essential for this society. They may seem to be looked down upon, but they make up in fact some of the strings that hold the Ibo individuals together until it falls apart.