The Role of Women in the Ibo Culture The culture in which ‘’Things Fall Apart’’ is centered around is one where patriarchal testosterone is supreme and oppresses all females into a nothingness. They are to be
seen and not heard, farming, caring for animals, raising
children, carrying foo-foo, pots of water, and kola.
The role of women in the Ibo culture was mostly
domestic. The men saw them as material possessions and
thought of them as a source of children and as cooks. As a
man made his way in life by farming yams, he needed a
strong workforce. This workforce included his wives and
children. A man would have many wives. The more wives and
children a man had, the more honor and respect he received.
If a man had dishonored himself in the eyes of the other
men belonging to the tribe by acting in a cowardly way or
by being lazy, they called him a woman for insult.
A man was to rule the household with a heavy hand.
Okonkwo’s wives and children lived in fear of his quick
temper (13). When his youngest wife was not home in time
to cook him lunch one day, he beat her severely when she
returned home (29). Another of his wives cut some leaves
off of a banana tree to wrap food. When he saw the tree,
he beat her for killing it, even though the tree was
clearly quite alive (38). When Okonkwo was near his
daughter Ezinma, he would think to himself, ‘’She should
have been a boy.’’ Apparently, a girl was not capable
providing him with sense of pride.
In the Ibo culture, when a woman was to be married,
the family of her suitor would come and inspect her to be
sure she was beautiful and ripe enough to be a part of
their family. A woman did not have any value other than
her beauty and her abilities to cook and bear children.
In a conversation between Okonkwo and his friend
Obierika, they spoke of two other villages where their