Femininity In Things Fall Apart

This sample paper on Femininity In Things Fall Apart offers a framework of relevant facts based on the recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body and conclusion of the paper below.

Things Fall Apart Masculine/Feminine In most cultures an individual’s gender will influence their characterization. For instance, Ibo tribes in Africa classify people according to their gender. Women are thought as submissive individuals who are to some extent weaker than men. Men on the other hand are thought of as strong beings with much expected from them.

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart strongly emphasizes on the categorization of masculinity and femininity in the society of Ibo tribes. Throughout the book, Okonkwo’s idea about masculinity situates him with respect to his community.

In his community Okonkwo is greatly praised for his masculine traits. It is Okonkwo integration with masculinity that leads to him becoming an “outcast” in his community and to him committing suicide. According to Okonkwo it was better dead then to summit to femininity, any feminine action on a man’s behalf is considered to be humiliating his reputation.

Okonkwo’s father Unoka is an example of a man with a humiliating reputation. Unoka is a failure in his community and considered an “unsuccessful” man, due to the fact that he was always borrowing money and his family suffers from hunger.

Thesis Statement Examples On Masculinity

When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt. ” (p.

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8) For this reason Unoka is often referred to as being agbala, which is the word for a woman or a man with no titles. Okonkwo is the opposite of his father, he is a successful man. It is because of his father that he tends to look down at feminine actions of any kind, because of this fear of becoming his father or having one of his sons become like his father. In contrast to his father Okonkwo earns many titles and instead of being looked down upon, he is greatly admired for his achievements.

Once of Okonkwo’s greatest achievement is his escapement from his father femininity and failure. “But for a young man whose father had no yams, there was no other way. And what made it worse in Okonkwo’s case was that he had to support his mother and two sisters from his meager harvest. And supporting his mother also meant supporting his father…And so at a very early age when he was striving desperately to build a barn through share-cropping Okonkwo was also fending for his father’s house. ”(p. 22) Okonkwo is able to do what his father does not do.

Okonkwo is able to take care of the family. From an early age Okonkwo has to do his work and his father’s work of supporting the family all at the same time. One can see that by taking on his father’s tasks and his own tasks that he wants to rise above his father’s legacy of spendthrift, lazy behavior, which he views as weak and therefore feminine. Not only does Okonkwo show that he is trying to rise above his father’s legacy but he also shows his aggravation and lack of patience with unsuccessful men.

During the meeting held for men to discuss the next ancestral feast, Okonkwo let off on a man with no titles. The man with no titles contradicted Okonkwo and displeased with his comment Okonkwo fired back “this meeting is for men. ” With this comment Okonkwo “killed” this man’s spirit by insinuating that the man was feminine for having no titles and for being stupid enough to contradict Okonkwo who is a man of titles. The people in the village were very displeased with Okonkwo’s comment asking him to apologize.

This shows that although Okonkwo is viewed as a hero, his impatience and extreme masculinity make him an outcast among the people in his tribe. Okonkwo’s impatience and extreme masculinity is not what solely makes him an outcast in his tribe but ironically it was also his feminine sin that forces him to be cast out of his tribe for a long period of time. In the tribe there are two kinds of crimes a female crime and a male crime, when Okonkwo’s gun blows up, he incidentally kills a boy and that is a feminine sin.

It is considered a feminine sin because it is done unintentionally. This shows how his masculinity as well as feminine crime makes Okonkwo an outcast in his community. Even though his faults are unintentional it is foreshadowing how Okonkwo will never again fit in with his native tribe or any other one for that matter. Similarly to his father Okonkwo is unable to fit in with the native tribe or even adapt to changing times.

On the contrary to his father who stood for an inactive, poor, spendthrift, weak, calm, and a man that is interested in music, Okonkwo manages to attain great social and financial success by being the complete opposite of that a productive, wealthy, thrifty, brave, violent, and a man unalterably opposed to music. Yet, both Okonkwo and Unoka are incapable of adapting to changing times; as other people come to live with the people Umuofia, namely the white men. One can see his inability to cope with his culture or that of the white men, towards the end of the story when

Okonkwo is speaking on how to deal with the abominable gang of white men. “Let us not reason like cowards, if a man comes into my hut and defecates on the floor, what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! I take a stick and break his head. That is what a man does. These people are daily pouring filth over us and Okeye says we should pretend not to see…this was a womanly clan he thought. Such a thing could never happen in his fatherland, Umuofia” (p. 158-159) One can see that even in his exiled state in his mother land, he is unable to see things the way others in his mother’s clan see it.

Unlike Okonkwo, the people in his mother’s clan feel that resorting to violence and brutality is unnecessary. They believe that violence and brutality is not their affair but instead it is of the gods and the offender. His masculine attitudes of not “reasoning like cowards” and “this is what a man does” are examples of how he cannot and will not back down from his war ways, which shows he is trying to strive away from his father’s legacy of a man who had no titles. Through out the book Okonkwo tries to get the most he can possibly attain.

Okonkwo was really first recognized for throwing the cat and becoming the greatest wrestler in Umuofia. This probably has him thinking that the way to achieve greatness is through sheer strength alone. Okonkwo thinks that his mother’s clan is too womanly compare to his father’s clan of Umuofia, however even when he returns to his father’s clan after the completion of his exile he is also very much out of place there also. This is due to his obsessive masculinity and also because he just cannot adapt to the changing of times.

Okonkwo “had lost his place among the masked spirits in the village” in addition to that “he had lost the chance to lead his warlike clan against the new religion” consequently he lost any voice he ever had and was a “stranger” in his land seeming as nobody appeared to have taken any special notice of the “warriors” return. He speaks with his friend Obierika about the strangeness of his home land saying, “Perhaps I have been away too long, but I cannot understand these things you tell me. What is it that has happened to our people?

Why have they lost the power to fight… I have also heard that Abame people were weak and foolish. Why did they not fight back? Had they no guns and machetes? We would be cowards to compare ourselves with the men of Abame. Their fathers had never dared to stand before our ancestors. We must fight these men and drive them from the land. ” (p. 199-201) Okonkwo does not realize that everyone else in the tribe is adapting to the inevitable and that is the assimilation or the taking over of by British people’s culture.

Okonkwo does not see that his place in society is diminishing very rapidly and his masculinity is not a match for what the other culture brings with them, that being its cleverness. He does not even understand his own people and why they are doing what they do. All he thinks of responding with is again violence and brutality another sign of his Macho only attitude. The people in his tribe are slowly and easily succumbing to the white man as his friends Obierika tells him right afterwards “It is already too late, our own men and sons have joined the ranks of the stranger.

This is perhaps all Okonkwo can take in and also foreshadowing the events that will happen later on in the story. Even so Okonkwo feels that his tribe could still be saved if only people were to get together and strike back at what was upon them. Okonkwo blames Egonwanne saying that he is a “coward” and that if it was not for his womanish wisdom Umuofia would not be going through all that it is going through right now. Okonkwo does not know that there is really nobody to blame and its just the changing times.

To put it simply Okonkwo is a lion in the snow left all by his lonesome self, not adjusting to the times and letting his masculinity get the best of him. “He had brought down his war dress, which he had not touched since his return from exile. ” To further emphasize on his masculinity Okonkwo goes out with his war gear. This not only distinguishes him from the rest of the men in the town meeting but also completes his transformation into an outsider in his own community; a tribe that would not go to war. “Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man.

He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape they had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in this tumult. ”(p. 205) Okonkwo figures out the fact that Umuofia would not go to war during a meeting regarding the white man. In this meeting he cuts a white messenger’s head off and sees the looks of the people’s faces and how they will take no action against the “strangers” in their land. During this meeting Okonkwo sets on his path to becoming a complete outsider.

He is a complete Outsider/Exile due to his masculinity and that the femininity of his “fellow’ tribesman. Okonkwo finally completes his transformation into a complete outsider in his tribe when he commits suicide. The district commissioner asks someone to take down the hanging body of Okonkwo. One of the people in the tribe responds to him saying that it against their custom. “…a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen. His body is evil, and only strangers may touch it. That is why we ask you people to bring him down, because you are strangers. ”(p. 207)

With this final act Okonkwo sets himself free from a culture from which he is no longer a part of but an old relic, a symbol of the changing times. His suicide makes it so that people know that he no longer wishes to associate himself with his tribe. He feels that it is all “falling apart” and his masculine ways just cannot adjust to the womanly way that the tribe is headed in. In conclusion, Okonkwo’s masculine way might appear too extreme to have led to suicide, yet the audience must understand that his masculinity was not only a way of life but also a way to escape from his father’s “feminine” lifestyle.

Okonkwo’s father was degrading due to his lack of masculinity and Okonkwo could not bear to be the same. Okonkwo put his masculinity before anything. Okonkwo would rather be an outsider in his community than a doomed “feminine” man. When Okonkwo sees that his people have given up the will to fight and stand up for them selves, Okonkwo feel’s discouraged. Not standing up to fight for your country, your people and your family is cowardly, and Okonkwo just cannot and will not submit to cowardliness.

Okonkwo insisted that his people go back to its war based lifestyle, yet his people refused to go to war against the whites. Okonkwo was to manly to change his mind and assimilate to the whites, he viewed that as weak and feminine. Although his refusal to adapt to his tribes new ways made him an outsider, Okonkwo could not and would not give up his manliness for anything, not even his life. Okonkwo choose his death before ever submitting to femininity, and his greatest fear of becoming just like his father who held such a trait.

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Femininity In Things Fall Apart. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-masculinityfeminity-things-fall-apart/

Femininity In Things Fall Apart
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