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Things Fall Apart

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 beseen and not heard, farming, caring for animals, raisingchildren, carrying foo-foo, pots of water, and kola. The role of women in the Ibo culture was mostlydomestic. The men saw them as material possessions andthought of them as a source of children and as cooks. As aman made his way in life by farming yams, he needed astrong workforce. This workforce included his wives andchildren. A man would have many wives. The more wives andchildren a man had, the more honor and respect he received. If a man had dishonored himself in the eyes of the othermen belonging to the tribe by acting in a cowardly way orby 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 quicktemper (13). When his youngest wife was not home in timeto cook him lunch one day, he beat her severely when shereturned home (29). Another of his wives cut some leavesoff of a banana tree to wrap food. When he saw the tree,he beat her for killing it, even though the tree wasclearly quite alive (38). When Okonkwo was near hisdaughter Ezinma, he would think to himself, ‘’She shouldhave been a boy.’’ Apparently, a girl was not capableproviding 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 besure she was beautiful and ripe enough to be a part oftheir family. A woman did not have any value other thanher beauty and her abilities to cook and bear children. In a conversation between Okonkwo and his friendObierika, they spoke of two other villages where their‘’customs are all upside down’’ and ‘’titled men...

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