Women In Achebe Essay

9063 words - 37 pages

WOMEN IN ACHEBE'S WORLDRose Ure MezuWhen literary activities marking the sixtieth birthday of Chinua Achebe reached fever-pitch in 1990, the greatest accolade given him was summed up in one metaphor: the eagle on the iroko. Now, anybody familiar with the African landscape knows that the iroko is the tallest, strongest tree in the forest and that the eagle is, of course, the king of the birds. It is not an easy feat to scale the tree; that is why the Igbo proverb insists: "One does not climb the iroko twice." Having succeeded in climbing the iroko, the climber should appropriate all that he finds there: he may not be able to do so again. The eagle, however, can both scale and soar above the ...view middle of the document...

Sociocultural BackgroundWere Nigeria and Africa oppressively masculinist? The answer is, "Yes." Ghana was known to have some matrilineal societies, such as the Akans ; but Nigeria's traditional culture, Muslim as well as non-Muslim, had been masculine-based even before the advent of the white man. The source, nature, and extent of female subordination and oppression have constituted a vexed problem in African literary debates. Writers such as Ama Ata Aidoo of Ghana and the late Flora Nwapa of Nigeria have insisted that the image of the helpless, dependent, unproductive African woman was one ushered in by European imperialists whose women lived that way. On the other hand, the Nigerian-born, expatriate writer Buchi Emecheta, along with other critics, maintains that African women were traditionally subordinated to sexist cultural mores. I ally myself to the latter camp. I believe that, in creating a masculine-based society, Achebe was merely putting literature to mimetic use, reflecting existing traditional mores. Colonial rule merely aggravated the situation by introducing a lopsided system in which African men received a well-rounded education while, like their European counterparts before the mid-nineteenth century, African women received only utilitarian, cosmetic skills in Domestic Science Centers -- the kinds of skills that only could prepare them to be useful helpmates of educated, premier nationalists and professionals such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria's first President, and the late Obafemi Awolowo, the Yoruba tribalist leader.Things Fall Apart is significant because it began the vogue of African novels of cultural contact and conflict. It has been translated into over twenty major world languages. Commensurate with its popularity, images of women receive attention. In a style that is expository rather than prescriptive, Achebe s novel mirrors the sociocultural organization existing in the Africa of the era he describes. Like Zora Neale Hurston's Janie Mae Crawford (when married to Jody Starks), Achebe's women are voiceless. But where even Janie is highly visible, his women are virtually inconsequential.In Of Woman Born (1977), Adrienne Rich unwittingly captures all the nuances of the African traditional social milieu when she describes patriarchy as:the power of the fathers: a familial, social, ideological, and political system in which, by direct pressure -- or through tradition, law and language, customs, etiquette, education, and division of labor -- men determine what parts women shall or shall not play, and the female is everywhere subsumed by the male. (57-58).The world in Things Fall Apart is one in which patriarchy intrudes oppressively into every sphere of existence. It is an andocentric world where the man is everything and the woman nothing. In domestic terms, women are quantified as part of men's acquisitions. As wives, women come in multiple numbers, sandwiched between yam barns and titles. These three -- wives, yam barns,...

Other Essays On Women In Achebe

"Things Fall Apart": An Indepth Analysis Of Ezinma And Her Connection To Her Father, Okonkwo

1438 words - 6 pages great deal in her life. In fact, Achebe tells the reader,"The birth of her children, which should be a women's crowning glory, became for Ekwefi mere physical agony devoid of promise. The naming ceremony after seven market weeks became an empty ritual. Her deepening despair found expression in the names she gave her children. One of them was a pathetic cry, Onwumbiko-"Death, I implore you." But Death took no notice; Onwumbiko died in his fifteenth

Suskinds use of imagery and description and it’s effects on the read and the text - Bullard - Essay

1529 words - 7 pages hard to become very successful. His only flaw was controlling his  temper which he thought emotions were not manly and made him women like. Nwoye is  Okonkwo’s oldest son, and is thought of a disappointment by him. Okonkwo views Nwoye  similar to his unsuccessful, women like, weak dad because Nwoye is a sensitive man.  Obierika is Okonkwo’s best friend and also a wealthy, respected man in Umuofia. He also  thinks things out and tries to see things

Persuasive Essay Gay And Lesbi

623 words - 3 pages . As stated in the Constitution of the United States, "All people are created equal." These organizations are fighting for equality. We all deserve the same basic rights whether we are gay, straight, black, or white. No one deserves to be judged, discriminated against, or treated unfairly. These groups also try to strengthen the gay and lesbian movement at the state and local level while connecting these activities to a national vision of change.All

Mark Mcgwire Vs Sammy Sosa

1206 words - 5 pages Sammy Sosa's statistic's because they haven't been in the league the same amount of time. The only way to fairly evaluate and compare these two individuals is to truly wait until they have both retired from baseball. Today we can only compare them to what they have done to today. McGwire and Sosa's hitting average over all is very close. McGwire has a .265 and Sosa has a .264. At the rate their going Sosa will probably have a better

Master and slave. an analysis

495 words - 2 pages the magic, and often uses magic instead of dealing with people normally. His liberation comes when he gets his dukedom back from his brother and decides to give up magic with the help of the audience's "good hands" (V.i.9) to set him free.Miranda is in bondage to her innocence. She has known no other men than Prospero and Caliban, and she has never known any women, so she does not know any of the dating conventions. All she can do is dictate her

Methods Of Therapy

2480 words - 10 pages METHODS OF THERAPY Therapy, from a psychologist's viewpoint, has many different meanings. It can be physical or psychological, or even both. In this paper, several different aspects of therapy will be discussed. First the word therapy will be defined more clearly, and then psychotherapy and how it differs from other interactions yet is also similar. Next therapy will be examined from the Psychodynamic, Cognitive and Humanistic-Existential points

Phineas And Gene A Comparitive

1538 words - 7 pages Phineas and Gene: A Comparative Study Throughout the story, Phineas and Gene, the two main characters, showed a number of contrasting traits. Phineas was a confident, non competitive, naive, irresponsible, and unintelligent person throughout the story, whereas Gene, Phineas' roommate, was insecure, competitive, mature, responsible, and intelligent throughout the story.Phineas had a confident nature in everything he did. As Phineas and Gene first

Mafia

2008 words - 9 pages , selling women to immigrants whom missed their wives. Places were established in large cities such as Chicago, to train new girls, usually unwillingly to be prostitutes. Auctions would then be held, the girls being sold to the highest bidder, making them known as white slaves. Since such a large number of women were needed to satisfy all the men, the organization soon had to travel to cities half way across the country to meet their demands. Soon

Baseball Strike

1354 words - 6 pages . Small market teams are rising to power with their demands while large market team owners are finding it hard to deal with the teams and their issues, while still trying to please the players. In essence, it is a three - way battle between the two sides of large and small market owners and the players. Neither side is showing any sort of sympathy for the other side. They are sticking with their proposals without any thoughts of changing them

Worst experience

299 words - 2 pages I wanted to lie down and cry. When I got home from the student/teacher/parent conference in fifth grade my mind was in shambles. After I had done everything possible to pass math, my fifth grade teacher was actually telling my Parents about my alleged poor effort. Poor effort? Didn't I do every homework assignment? Didn't I study every night and miss my favorite television show "Full house"? From an early age, I had been taught that grades are

Multinational Companies

2058 words - 9 pages Multinational Companies: Out for Profit Without Regard for Life                  What a company usually wants for its business is for it to be an successful establishment and to make an abundance of profit. Some businesses do not pose any concern on what they have to do to make this profit as long as it done. Multinational companies are firms with their home base in one country and operations in many other nations. (Molyeux, 133

Similar Papers

An Analysis Of Chinua Achebe's Silencing Of Women In The Novel Things Fall Apart English Essay

1033 words - 5 pages women - who in theory are inferior to men - should not be granted the power of speech. In “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe uses literary devices such as characterization and setting to show the silencing of women by men. The author does so in order to convey the idea that in Umuofia there is direct correlation between gender and power. Initially, one example that showcases the silencing of women by men in Umuofia are Achebe’s deliberate

Is The Colonization Of Africa Essay

1203 words - 5 pages they have on high and mighty God and some lesser gods, where as the white people believe in only one God and try to convince the natives to do this as well. "And he told them about this new God, the creator of all the world and all the men and women. He told them that they worshipped false gods, gods of wood and stone." (Achebe 145) The white people eventually try to convince the natives to join this religion and there was a rumour that one of the

Women Role In "Thing Fall Part" Enlish Essay

757 words - 4 pages and status in society with hard work. And it is no different in the novel “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe. Women, in the Ibo culture, are portrayed as having no power or social status but are still strong figures. This characterization is true to some extent, as throughout the novel the varied roles of women and their participation in the society are unraveled. In the novel, the readers follow the history of Okonkwo, some sort of hero in the

Shoe Horn Sonota And A Mother In A Refugee Camp

1048 words - 5 pages 10241 Essay - Sam Payda "Interesting views on society are conveyed by the distinctively visual." The confronting realisation of situations that ordinary people are put into can be gruesome and explicit. In both Shoe-Horn Sonata by John Misto and "A Mother in a Refugee Camp" written by Chinua Achebe, Distinctively Visual utilises language techniques, projected images and the physical acting on stage to create images in the audiences minds which