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 tree over and over.In this metaphor the iroko then represents the field of African literature; the eagle, Chinua Achebe. Achebe has, of course, literarily climbed and soared above the iroko several times. More than those of any other African writer, his writings have helped to develop what is known as African literature today. And the single book which has helped him to launch his "revolution" is the slim, classic volume called Things Fall Apart (1958). Having been the first, so to speak, to scale the top of the iroko, this eagle Achebe, and other male eaglets after him, arguably have appropriated all that they have found there.This paper will explore what is left for female eagles. The focus of my study includes: 1) Achebe's portraiture of women in his fictional universe, the existing sociocultural situation of the period he is depicting, and the factors in it that condition male attitudes towards women; 2) the consequences of the absence of a moderating female principle in his fictions; 3) Achebe's progressively changing attitude towards women s roles; and 4) feminist prospects for African women. In the context of this study, the Igbo people whom Achebe describes will represent the rest of Nigeria -- and a great many of the nations of Africa.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, social titles -- are the highest accolades for the successful farmer, warrior, and man of worth. These determine a man's social status, as illustrated by Nwakibie who has three huge barns, nine wives and thirty children, and the highest but one title which a man can take in the clan (21).The society that Achebe is describing (1850-1900) is an agrarian one in which the crop -- the yam -- is synonymous with virility. Achebe explains that this all-important crop [stands] for manliness, and he who [can] feed his family on yams from one harvest to another [is] a very great man indeed . . . . Yam, the king of crops, [is] a very exacting king (34-35). Consequently, to produce an abundant harvest, the traditional farmer needs a good workforce. Women constitute (and still do) the core of the rural workforce -- farming, tending animals, nurturing children, among other activities. To echo the Nigerian critic Juliet Okonkwo, Achebe's cultural universe is one in which women [are] to be seen not heard, coming and going, with mounds of foofoo, pots of water, market baskets, fetching kola, being scolded and beaten before they disappear behind the huts of their compound (36). It would not be out of place to ally the existence of such women to that of other diasporic black women described by Zora Neale Hurston's metaphor "mule[s] uh de world" (14). Indeed, Zora s Janie is robbed of her voice by her own husband Jody, who, like Okonkwo, chauvinistically believes that women s place is in the home (41), lumps together women and chillun and chickens and cows (67), and wants to be a big voice" (27) in the affairs of the community.A similar near-invisiblity of women in Things Fall Apart is acknowledged by the omniscient narrator. Describing a communal ceremony, he confesses, "It was clear from the way the crowd stood or sat that the ceremony was for men. There were many women, but they looked on from the fringe like outsiders" (85). For centuries, African women languished on the fringe of their universe -- neglected, exploited, degenerated, and indeed made to feel like outsiders. They were not invited to stay when men were engaged in any discussion; they were not included in councils of war; they did not form part of the masquerades representing the judiciary and ancestral spirits.Achebe's sexist attitude is unabashed and without apology. Unoka, Okonkwo's father, is considered an untitled man, connoting femininity (20). Coco-yam, of smaller size and lesser value than other yams, is regarded as female. Osugo has taken no title; and so, in a gathering of his peers, Okonkwo unkindly tells him, "This meeting is for men" (28). Guilt-ridden after murdering Ikemefuna, his surrogate son, Okonkwo sternly reprimands himself not to "become like a shivering old woman" (72) -- this he considers the worst insult. Fleeing after the murder, Okonkwo has no other refuge than his mother's town, which, of course, has to be called Mbanta -- "small town" -- which I read as being opposed in Okonkwo s thinking to the rugged, wild, violent, strong, masculine connotations of his Umuofia (meaning "children of the forest"). Such excessive emphases on virility, sex-role stereotyping, gender discrimination, and violence create an imbalance, a resultant denigration of the female principle.Such denigration brings Okonkwo to ruin just as much as it presages the demise of his society's way of life. Okonkwo largely embodies "all the virtues and some of the excesses of this society . . . . [for] around [him are] heard the rhythmic beats of Umuofia's heart" (Awoonor 253). One gets the impression of a strangle hold on individuals: especially on the weak; the untitled, considered as efulefu or "worthless"; and the outcast, embittered mothers of twins. Even designed to break the weak and the women are the welcoming arms of Christianity -- an alien religion which steals quietly into the clan, gathering adherents from those oppressed by Umuofia's rigid insistence on allegiance to gods, customs, and laws.The Absence of a Moderating Female PrincipleThings Fall Apart is redolent of violent conflicts occasioned by the utter lack of a moderating female influence. One example of this absence can be found in Achebe s employment of the folktale narrating the conflict between Earth, representing fertility or the female principle, and Sky, representing the male principle. Donald Weinstock and Cathy Ramadan argue that "the [folktale s] initial quarrel between Earth and Sky represents the struggle between masculine and female powers and principles" (127). They assert that Okonkwo, whooccasionally but reluctantly yields his tender emotions most often expressed perversely towards Ikemefuna and Nwoye, is a paradigm for [S]ky who withholds rain but releases it reluctantly and perversely, since rain [falls] as it [has] never fallen before, preventing vulture, who represents the female principle, from returning to deliver his message, just as Nwoye, with his effeminate nature, [does] not return to Okonkwo's compound. (20-21)In the manner of the tragic hero, Okonkwo s consequent despair and fall represent the despair and break-up of the Igbo clan before the inexorable, invincible forces of the white man's religions and political organizations, all because of the absence of that female principle that could have maintained balance and sanity. This is echoed by Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi's postulation that present-day Nigeria finds itself in the same quagmire as Umuofia of old because of a similar degree of machismo: Is it any wonder that the country is in shambles when it has failed to solicit the help of its better half [women] . . . for pacific pursuits, for the betterment of the country?" (60).Achebe's female characters are generally stunted individuals as above, or they are idealized as mothers in the manner of such Negritude writings as Camara Laye's Dark Child (date). The latter, maternal valorization is indicated by the meaning of Nneka -- "mother is supreme" -- as provided by Okonkwo's uncle Uchendu:It is true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness, he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. (124)The only women respected in Umuofia are those like Chielo, the priestess of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves, who is removed from the pale of normalcy. Clothed in the mystic mantle of the divinity she serves, Chielo transforms from the ordinary; she can reprimand Okonkwo and even scream curses at him: "Beware of exchanging words with Agbala [the name of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves]. Does a man speak when a God speaks? Beware!" (95). Yet if Okonkwo is powerless before a goddess's priestess, he can, at least, control his own women. So, when Nwoye's mother asks if Ikemefuna will be staying long with them, Okonkwo bellows to her: "Do what you are told woman. When did you become one of the ndichie [clan elders]?" (18).Perhaps Umuofia's shabby and degrading treatment of women and wives stems from unconscious fear of, rather than reverence for, the ubiquitous and capricious Earth goddess Ani or Ala, who wreaks such havoc on the townspeople s lives. She is the goddess of fertility. She also gives or withholds children; she spurns twin children who must be thrown away; she prohibits anyone inflicted with shameful diseases from burial in her soil. To the men of Umuofia, she must seem the embodiment of the two-faced Greek furies and Scylla and Charybdis joined together -- vengeful, unavoidable, and incomprehensible. Umuofia s men can compare to the ancient Greeks who were noted for similar female images such as Pandora, Circe, Medea, and Clytemnestra. In helpless, mortal dread of a fearsome divine female principle, they come down heavily indeed on ordinary women whose lives they can control as they like.Achebe's Progressive Vision of WomenA cursory look at the place of women in Achebe's other works will confirm a diachronic development. In No Longer at Ease (1963), there is a discernible change in the style of Achebe's female portraiture. At the end of the novel, Obi Okonkwo yields to the implacable force of traditional ethos when choosing between his mother (representing traditionalism), who threatens to kill herself if he marries an outcast or osu, and the outcast protagonist Clara (representing the modern female). The pregnant Clara gets an abortion and fades out of the story. But at least she is cast as an educated, financially independent woman. She has the makings of a spirited, independent character, by virtue of her overseas education and profession as a nurse. She can afford to do without Obi Okonkwo.In A Man of the People (1966), there are images of women playing traditional roles such as singers and dancers, or women adoring rich politicians like Chief the Honorable M.A. Nanga. Mrs. Eleanor John, a tough party woman and board member -- rich, independent, assertive -- lamentably is cast as a semiliterate businesswoman with no noteworthy role. We see Chief Nanga's wife, a beneficiary of the colonial, utilitarian education, dissatisfied with her husband's extramarital relationship and impending marriage to the young Edna. Mrs. Nanga complains to Odili, but when the latter sets out to unseat her husband, she reverts to her traditional role of helpmate fighting to retain her precarious social and economic position. Consequently, she remains a dependent, peripheral figure, deriving validity as a human being only from her husband.A strong characterization in Man of the People is Eunice the lawyer. She is the fiancée of Odili's schoolmate Max, and founder of the Common People's Convention that opposes corrupt Chief Nanga and his ilk. When Max is shot by thugs of a political adversary, Eunice takes decisive, retaliatory action: "[S]he opens her handbag as if to take out a handkerchief, [takes] out a pistol instead and [fires] two bullets into Chief Koko's chest" (160). To this strong portrait, Achebe adds pointedly: "Only then [does] she fall down on Max's body and begin to weep like a woman . . . A very strange girl, people said" (160). In a story of the total breakdown of law and order, where looting, arson and political killings have become rife, a single act of retaliation by an injured girl is considered "strange."The inexorable winds of change have caused Achebe, a consummate pragmatist, to make a volte-face. The secret of his revisionist stance can be deduced from the central theme of his two tradition-based novels, Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God (1964): In a world of change, whoever is not flexible enough will be swept aside. Profiting from the mistakes of his tragic heroes, Achebe becomes flexible.In Anthills of the Savannah (1987), speaking through his alter ego Ikem, a journalist and writer, Achebe acknowledges that the malaise the African party is experiencing results from excluding women from the scheme of things. Beatrice of Anthills, who has an honors degree from Queen Mary College, University of London, projects Achebe's new vision of women's roles and clarifies Ikem's hazy thoughts on the issue. Ikem accepts that his former attitude towards women has been too respectful, too idealistic. In the best Negritudinal manner, he has reverently put every woman on a pedestal as a Nneka, where she is just as irrelevant to the practical decisions of running the world as she was in the old days (98). Beatrice gives Ikem insight into a feminist concept of womanhood. She is articulate, independent, and self-realized, and she re-evaluates women's position, asserting, "[I]t is not enough that women should be the court of last resort because the last resort is a damn sight too far and too late!" (91-92). In Beatrice, Achebe now strives to affirm the moral strength and intellectual integrity of African women, especially since the social conditions which have kept women down in the past are now largely absent. Urbanization and education have combined to broaden women s horizons. Therefore, Ikem tells Beatrice, I can't tell you what the new role for Woman will be. I don't know. I should never presume to know. You have to tell us (98). Achebe's newly envisioned female roles are to be expounded, articulated, and secured by woman herself; and the modern African woman is doing just that.Feminism, Womanism, and Modern African WomenIt is insufficient that Achebe the icon merely acknowledge the injustice of his earlier treatments of women. Feminist ideology lays the task of self-actualization on women ourselves. Like Ngugi wa Thiong o's female characters Wanja (Petals of Blood, 1977) and Wariinga (Devil on The Cross, 1982), African women are playing active roles in their nation s histories by resisting "being pushed or tempted into accepting subservient or degrading or decorative roles" (Evans 134). They are developing what I have termed "the will to change" (Mezu 217).In 1966, Flora Nwapa published Efuru. Significant in African feminist scholarship, it signals a long-awaited departure from the stereotypical female portraiture in male-authored African literature. The eponymous Efuru chooses her own husband and marries without his paying a dowry. She decisively deals with conflicts, radically departing from the script of the traditional African woman "in the peripheral, tangential role of a passive victim of a masculine-based cultural universe" (Mezu 27-28). But Efuru is plagued by infertility, polygyny, infidelity, and abandonment by two undistinguished husbands. She finally abjures marriage, opting for meaningful singlehood as priestess of the goddess of the river, Uhamiri, vindicator of victimized womanhood.In Idu (1970), Nwapa again embarked on a revisionist course, now making a man responsible for infertility. Though in a similar vein the Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo published a play, Dilemma of a Ghost (1965), Nwapa was for a long time the lone African female novelist s voice lamenting patriarchy. The prolific Buchi Emecheta joined the fray with The Joys of Motherhood (1980). As the female Nigerian critic, Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi, writes:If Nwapa is the challenger, Buchi Emecheta is the fighter. . . . For the first time, female readers through female characters are aware of their subjugation by their fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers and sons. (62)All of Emecheta s novels expound "the theme of female oppression, the slave girl becoming her leitmotif -- the archetypal African woman buried alive under the heavy yoke of traditional mores and customs" (Ogunyemi 62). This list of African feminist novelists, dramatists, poets, and literary critics is growing. African women feature equally in publishing -- Nwapa with her Tana Press and Emecheta with Ogwugwu Afor.African women must acknowledge gratitude to women and men -- to mothers, fathers, uncles, and brothers -- who, disregarding patriarchy and traditionalism, ensured them educations. It is only through such enlightenment that African women writers have been able to dismantle the myth of female irrelevance by challenging such archetypal roles as witches, faithless women, femmes fatales, viragos, and playthings of capricious gods. In achieving this, such women writers have been supported by some male writers, labelled gynandrists : Isidore Okpewho, Ousmane Sembène, Ng g wa Thiong'o, Mongo Beti, Henri Lopes.Given the intensely patriarchal nature of traditional African cultures, African feminism cannot be considered radical. For white European and American women, feminism has predicated itself on ending gender discrimination and demanding equal job opportunities and voting and property rights. For African and African-American women, feminist ideology reflects specificities of race, class, and culture. It is for this reason that the former has failed to make any lasting appeal to Africa and its diaspora. Because African women do not wish to alienate men, because African women do not wish to alienate the bulk of their tradition-based sisters, because many traditional African customs and mores are worth preserving, most African feminists espouse womanism, which Alice Walker defines as a philosophy that celebrates black roots, the ideals of black life, while giving a balanced presentation of black womanhood . . . . [I]ts aim is the dynamism of wholeness and self-healing.The iroko is there for women to climb, after all. Educated African women, and those African women and men in exalted, decision-making bodies, must and do realize their duty to make society an equitable place for their less-privileged sisters. Equipped with education, resilience, and the will to survive, female eagles can scale and even soar over irokos, placing no limitations on their capabilities. African women are making meaningful contributions: as lecturers, professors, and presidents of universities; as commissioners and ministers, senators and governors, and chairpersons of political parties; as directors and others involved in literacy movements and campaigns against forced marriages, clitoridectomies, and obsolete widowhood practices. African women can outstrip their fictive counterparts to be partners with men in national progress and development, and to gain individual self-realization and fulfillment.REFERENCESAchebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: Heinemann, 1958.---. No Longer At Ease. London: Heinemann, 1963.---. Arrow of God. New York: John Day, 1964.---. A Man of the People. New York: John Day, 1966.---. Anthills of the Savannah. London: Heinemann, 1987.Aidoo, Ama Ata. The Dilemma of a Ghost. Accra: Longmans, 1965.Awoonor, Kofi. The Breast of the Earth. New York: Nok, 1975.Emecheta, Buchi. The Joys of Motherhood: A Novel. London:Heinemann, 1980.Evans, Jennifer. "Women and Resistance in Ngugi's Devil on theCross." African Literature Today. Trenton, NewJersey: African World Press, 1987. pagesHurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1939. NewYork: Harper & Row, 1990.Laye, Camara. The Dark Child.Mezu, Rose Ure. Women in Chains: Abandonment inLove Relationships in the Fiction of Selected West AfricanWriters. Owerri, Nigeria: Black Academy, 1994.Nnolim, Charles E. "Form and Function of Folk Tradition."Approaches To the African Novel: Essays in Analysis.London: Saros International, 1992. pagesNwapa, Flora. Efuru. London: Heinemann, 1966.---. Idu. London: Heinemann, 1970.Ogunyemi, Chikwenye Okonjo. "Women and Nigerian Literature."Perspectives on Nigerian Literature. Vol. 1. Lagos,Nigeria: Guardian Books, 1988. pagesOkonkwo, Juliet. "The Talented Woman in African Literature."African Quarterly 15.1-2: pages.Rich, Adrienne. Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience andInstitution. New York: Norton, 1976.Thiong o, Ngugi wa. Petals of Blood. London: Heinemann, 1977.---. Devil on the Cross. London: Heinemann, 1982.Walker, Alice. "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens." In Searchof Our Mothers Gardens: Womanist Prose. New York: HarcourtBrace, 1983. 231-243.Weinstock, Donald, and Cathy Ramadan.Born in Lagos, Rose Ure Mezu, Ph.D., teaches francophone and anglophone feminist literature and theory at Baltimore's Morgan State University. She also has written a book of poems, Songs of the Hearth.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 tree over and over.In this metaphor the iroko then represents the field of African literature; the eagle, Chinua Achebe. Achebe has, of course, literarily climbed and soared above the iroko several times. More than those of any other African writer, his writings have helped to develop what is known as African literature today. And the single book which has helped him to launch his "revolution" is the slim, classic volume called Things Fall Apart (1958). Having been the first, so to speak, to scale the top of the iroko, this eagle Achebe, and other male eaglets after him, arguably have appropriated all that they have found there.This paper will explore what is left for female eagles. The focus of my study includes: 1) Achebe's portraiture of women in his fictional universe, the existing sociocultural situation of the period he is depicting, and the factors in it that condition male attitudes towards women; 2) the consequences of the absence of a moderating female principle in his fictions; 3) Achebe's progressively changing attitude towards women s roles; and 4) feminist prospects for African women. In the context of this study, the Igbo people whom Achebe describes will represent the rest of Nigeria -- and a great many of the nations of Africa.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 androcentric 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, social titles -- are the highest accolades for the successful farmer, warrior, and man of worth. These determine a man's social status, as illustrated by Nwakibie who has three huge barns, nine wives and thirty children, and the highest but one title which a man can take in the clan (21).The society that Achebe is describing (1850-1900) is an agrarian one in which the crop -- the yam -- is synonymous with virility. Achebe explains that this all-important crop [stands] for manliness, and he who [can] feed his family on yams from one harvest to another [is] a very great man indeed . . . . Yam, the king of crops, [is] a very exacting king (34-35). Consequently, to produce an abundant harvest, the traditional farmer needs a good workforce. Women constitute (and still do) the core of the rural workforce -- farming, tending animals, nurturing children, among other activities. To echo the Nigerian critic Juliet Okonkwo, Achebe's cultural universe is one in which women [are] to be seen not heard, coming and going, with mounds of foofoo, pots of water, market baskets, fetching kola, being scolded and beaten before they disappear behind the huts of their compound (36). It would not be out of place to ally the existence of such women to that of other diasporic black women described by Zora Neale Hurston's metaphor "mule[s] uh de world" (14). Indeed, Zora s Janie is robbed of her voice by her own husband Jody, who, like Okonkwo, chauvinistically believes that women s place is in the home (41), lumps together women and chillun and chickens and cows (67), and wants to be a big voice" (27) in the affairs of the community.A similar near-invisiblity of women in Things Fall Apart is acknowledged by the omniscient narrator. Describing a communal ceremony, he confesses, "It was clear from the way the crowd stood or sat that the ceremony was for men. There were many women, but they looked on from the fringe like outsiders" (85). For centuries, African women languished on the fringe of their universe -- neglected, exploited, degenerated, and indeed made to feel like outsiders. They were not invited to stay when men were engaged in any discussion; they were not included in councils of war; they did not form part of the masquerades representing the judiciary and ancestral spirits.Achebe's sexist attitude is unabashed and without apology. Unoka, Okonkwo's father, is considered an untitled man, connoting femininity (20). Coco-yam, of smaller size and lesser value than other yams, is regarded as female. Osugo has taken no title; and so, in a gathering of his peers, Okonkwo unkindly tells him, "This meeting is for men" (28). Guilt-ridden after murdering Ikemefuna, his surrogate son, Okonkwo sternly reprimands himself not to "become like a shivering old woman" (72) -- this he considers the worst insult. Fleeing after the murder, Okonkwo has no other refuge than his mother's town, which, of course, has to be called Mbanta -- "small town" -- which I read as being opposed in Okonkwo s thinking to the rugged, wild, violent, strong, masculine connotations of his Umuofia (meaning "children of the forest"). Such excessive emphases on virility, sex-role stereotyping, gender discrimination, and violence create an imbalance, a resultant denigration of the female principle.Such denigration brings Okonkwo to ruin just as much as it presages the demise of his society's way of life. Okonkwo largely embodies "all the virtues and some of the excesses of this society . . . . [for] around [him are] heard the rhythmic beats of Umuofia's heart" (Awoonor 253). One gets the impression of a strangle hold on individuals: especially on the weak; the untitled, considered as efulefu or "worthless"; and the outcast, embittered mothers of twins. Even designed to break the weak and the women are the welcoming arms of Christianity -- an alien religion which steals quietly into the clan, gathering adherents from those oppressed by Umuofia's rigid insistence on allegiance to gods, customs, and laws.The Absence of a Moderating Female PrincipleThings Fall Apart is redolent of violent conflicts occasioned by the utter lack of a moderating female influence. One example of this absence can be found in Achebe s employment of the folktale narrating the conflict between Earth, representing fertility or the female principle, and Sky, representing the male principle. Donald Weinstock and Cathy Ramadan argue that "the [folktale s] initial quarrel between Earth and Sky represents the struggle between masculine and female powers and principles" (127). They assert that Okonkwo, whooccasionally but reluctantly yields his tender emotions most often expressed perversely towards Ikemefuna and Nwoye, is a paradigm for [S]ky who withholds rain but releases it reluctantly and perversely, since rain [falls] as it [has] never fallen before, preventing vulture, who represents the female principle, from returning to deliver his message, just as Nwoye, with his effeminate nature, [does] not return to Okonkwo's compound. (20-21)In the manner of the tragic hero, Okonkwo s consequent despair and fall represent the despair and break-up of the Igbo clan before the inexorable, invincible forces of the white man's religions and political organizations, all because of the absence of that female principle that could have maintained balance and sanity. This is echoed by Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi's postulation that present-day Nigeria finds itself in the same quagmire as Umuofia of old because of a similar degree of machismo: Is it any wonder that the country is in shambles when it has failed to solicit the help of its better half [women] . . . for pacific pursuits, for the betterment of the country?" (60).Achebe's female characters are generally stunted individuals as above, or they are idealized as mothers in the manner of such Negritude writings as Camara Laye's Dark Child (date). The latter, maternal valorization is indicated by the meaning of Nneka -- "mother is supreme" -- as provided by Okonkwo's uncle Uchendu:It is true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness, he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. (124)The only women respected in Umuofia are those like Chielo, the priestess of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves, who is removed from the pale of normalcy. Clothed in the mystic mantle of the divinity she serves, Chielo transforms from the ordinary; she can reprimand Okonkwo and even scream curses at him: "Beware of exchanging words with Agbala [the name of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves]. Does a man speak when a God speaks? Beware!" (95). Yet if Okonkwo is powerless before a goddess's priestess, he can, at least, control his own women. So, when Nwoye's mother asks if Ikemefuna will be staying long with them, Okonkwo bellows to her: "Do what you are told woman. When did you become one of the ndichie [clan elders]?" (18).Perhaps Umuofia's shabby and degrading treatment of women and wives stems from unconscious fear of, rather than reverence for, the ubiquitous and capricious Earth goddess Ani or Ala, who wreaks such havoc on the townspeople s lives. She is the goddess of fertility. She also gives or withholds children; she spurns twin children who must be thrown away; she prohibits anyone inflicted with shameful diseases from burial in her soil. To the men of Umuofia, she must seem the embodiment of the two-faced Greek furies and Scylla and Charybdis joined together -- vengeful, unavoidable, and incomprehensible. Umuofia s men can compare to the ancient Greeks who were noted for similar female images such as Pandora, Circe, Medea, and Clytemnestra. In helpless, mortal dread of a fearsome divine female principle, they come down heavily indeed on ordinary women whose lives they can control as they like.Achebe's Progressive Vision of WomenA cursory look at the place of women in Achebe's other works will confirm a diachronic development. In No Longer at Ease (1963), there is a discernible change in the style of Achebe's female portraiture. At the end of the novel, Obi Okonkwo yields to the implacable force of traditional ethos when choosing between his mother (representing traditionalism), who threatens to kill herself if he marries an outcast or osu, and the outcast protagonist Clara (representing the modern female). The pregnant Clara gets an abortion and fades out of the story. But at least she is cast as an educated, financially independent woman. She has the makings of a spirited, independent character, by virtue of her overseas education and profession as a nurse. She can afford to do without Obi Okonkwo.In A Man of the People (1966), there are images of women playing traditional roles such as singers and dancers, or women adoring rich politicians like Chief the Honorable M.A. Nanga. Mrs. Eleanor John, a tough party woman and board member -- rich, independent, assertive -- lamentably is cast as a semiliterate businesswoman with no noteworthy role. We see Chief Nanga's wife, a beneficiary of the colonial, utilitarian education, dissatisfied with her husband's extramarital relationship and impending marriage to the young Edna. Mrs. Nanga complains to Odili, but when the latter sets out to unseat her husband, she reverts to her traditional role of helpmate fighting to retain her precarious social and economic position. Consequently, she remains a dependent, peripheral figure, deriving validity as a human being only from her husband.A strong characterization in Man of the People is Eunice the lawyer. She is the fiancée of Odili's schoolmate Max, and founder of the Common People's Convention that opposes corrupt Chief Nanga and his ilk. When Max is shot by thugs of a political adversary, Eunice takes decisive, retaliatory action: "[S]he opens her handbag as if to take out a handkerchief, [takes] out a pistol instead and [fires] two bullets into Chief Koko's chest" (160). To this strong portrait, Achebe adds pointedly: "Only then [does] she fall down on Max's body and begin to weep like a woman . . . A very strange girl, people said" (160). In a story of the total breakdown of law and order, where looting, arson and political killings have become rife, a single act of retaliation by an injured girl is considered "strange."The inexorable winds of change have caused Achebe, a consummate pragmatist, to make a volte-face. The secret of his revisionist stance can be deduced from the central theme of his two tradition-based novels, Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God (1964): In a world of change, whoever is not flexible enough will be swept aside. Profiting from the mistakes of his tragic heroes, Achebe becomes flexible.In Anthills of the Savannah (1987), speaking through his alter ego Ikem, a journalist and writer, Achebe acknowledges that the malaise the African party is experiencing results from excluding women from the scheme of things. Beatrice of Anthills, who has an honors degree from Queen Mary College, University of London, projects Achebe's new vision of women's roles and clarifies Ikem's hazy thoughts on the issue. Ikem accepts that his former attitude towards women has been too respectful, too idealistic. In the best Negritudinal manner, he has reverently put every woman on a pedestal as a Nneka, where she is just as irrelevant to the practical decisions of running the world as she was in the old days (98). Beatrice gives Ikem insight into a feminist concept of womanhood. She is articulate, independent, and self-realized, and she re-evaluates women's position, asserting, "[I]t is not enough that women should be the court of last resort because the last resort is a damn sight too far and too late!" (91-92). In Beatrice, Achebe now strives to affirm the moral strength and intellectual integrity of African women, especially since the social conditions which have kept women down in the past are now largely absent. Urbanization and education have combined to broaden women s horizons. Therefore, Ikem tells Beatrice, I can't tell you what the new role for Woman will be. I don't know. I should never presume to know. You have to tell us (98). Achebe's newly envisioned female roles are to be expounded, articulated, and secured by woman herself; and the modern African woman is doing just that.Feminism, Womanism, and Modern African WomenIt is insufficient that Achebe the icon merely acknowledge the injustice of his earlier treatments of women. Feminist ideology lays the task of self-actualization on women ourselves. Like Ngugi wa Thiong o's female characters Wanja (Petals of Blood, 1977) and Wariinga (Devil on The Cross, 1982), African women are playing active roles in their nation s histories by resisting "being pushed or tempted into accepting subservient or degrading or decorative roles" (Evans 134). They are developing what I have termed "the will to change" (Mezu 217).In 1966, Flora Nwapa published Efuru. Significant in African feminist scholarship, it signals a long-awaited departure from the stereotypical female portraiture in male-authored African literature. The eponymous Efuru chooses her own husband and marries without his paying a dowry. She decisively deals with conflicts, radically departing from the script of the traditional African woman "in the peripheral, tangential role of a passive victim of a masculine-based cultural universe" (Mezu 27-28). But Efuru is plagued by infertility, polygyny, infidelity, and abandonment by two undistinguished husbands. She finally abjures marriage, opting for meaningful singlehood as priestess of the goddess of the river, Uhamiri, vindicator of victimized womanhood.In Idu (1970), Nwapa again embarked on a revisionist course, now making a man responsible for infertility. Though in a similar vein the Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo published a play, Dilemma of a Ghost (1965), Nwapa was for a long time the lone African female novelist s voice lamenting patriarchy. The prolific Buchi Emecheta joined the fray with The Joys of Motherhood (1980). As the female Nigerian critic, Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi, writes:If Nwapa is the challenger, Buchi Emecheta is the fighter. . . . For the first time, female readers through female characters are aware of their subjugation by their fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers and sons. (62)All of Emecheta s novels expound "the theme of female oppression, the slave girl becoming her leitmotif -- the archetypal African woman buried alive under the heavy yoke of traditional mores and customs" (Ogunyemi 62). This list of African feminist novelists, dramatists, poets, and literary critics is growing. African women feature equally in publishing -- Nwapa with her Tana Press and Emecheta with Ogwugwu Afor.African women must acknowledge gratitude to women and men -- to mothers, fathers, uncles, and brothers -- who, disregarding patriarchy and traditionalism, ensured them educations. It is only through such enlightenment that African women writers have been able to dismantle the myth of female irrelevance by challenging such archetypal roles as witches, faithless women, femmes fatales, viragos, and playthings of capricious gods. In achieving this, such women writers have been supported by some male writers, labelled gynandrists : Isidore Okpewho, Ousmane Sembène, Ng g wa Thiong'o, Mongo Beti, Henri Lopes.Given the intensely patriarchal nature of traditional African cultures, African feminism cannot be considered radical. For white European and American women, feminism has predicated itself on ending gender discrimination and demanding equal job opportunities and voting and property rights. For African and African-American women, feminist ideology reflects specificities of race, class, and culture. It is for this reason that the former has failed to make any lasting appeal to Africa and its diaspora. Because African women do not wish to alienate men, because African women do not wish to alienate the bulk of their tradition-based sisters, because many traditional African customs and mores are worth preserving, most African feminists espouse womanism, which Alice Walker defines as a philosophy that celebrates black roots, the ideals of black life, while giving a balanced presentation of black womanhood . . . . [I]ts aim is the dynamism of wholeness and self-healing.The iroko is there for women to climb, after all. Educated African women, and those African women and men in exalted, decision-making bodies, must and do realize their duty to make society an equitable place for their less-privileged sisters. Equipped with education, resilience, and the will to survive, female eagles can scale and even soar over irokos, placing no limitations on their capabilities. African women are making meaningful contributions: as lecturers, professors, and presidents of universities; as commissioners and ministers, senators and governors, and chairpersons of political parties; as directors and others involved in literacy movements and campaigns against forced marriages, clitoridectomies, and obsolete widowhood practices. African women can outstrip their fictive counterparts to be partners with men in national progress and development, and to gain individual self-realization and fulfillment.REFERENCESAchebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: Heinemann, 1958.---. No Longer At Ease. London: Heinemann, 1963.---. Arrow of God. New York: John Day, 1964.---. A Man of the People. New York: John Day, 1966.---. Anthills of the Savannah. London: Heinemann, 1987.Aidoo, Ama Ata. The Dilemma of a Ghost. Accra: Longmans, 1965.Awoonor, Kofi. The Breast of the Earth. New York: Nok, 1975.Emecheta, Buchi. The Joys of Motherhood: A Novel. London:Heinemann, 1980.Evans, Jennifer. "Women and Resistance in Ngugi's Devil on theCross." African Literature Today. Trenton, NewJersey: African World Press, 1987. pagesHurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1939. NewYork: Harper & Row, 1990.Laye, Camara. The Dark Child.Mezu, Rose Ure. Women in Chains: Abandonment inLove Relationships in the Fiction of Selected West AfricanWriters. Owerri, Nigeria: Black Academy, 1994.Nnolim, Charles E. "Form and Function of Folk Tradition."Approaches To the African Novel: Essays in Analysis.London: Saros International, 1992. PagesNwapa, Flora. Efuru. London: Heinemann, 1966.---. Idu. London: Heinemann, 1970.Ogunyemi, Chikwenye Okonjo. "Women and Nigerian Literature."Perspectives on Nigerian Literature. Vol. 1. Lagos,Nigeria: Guardian Books, 1988. pagesOkonkwo, Juliet. "The Talented Woman in African Literature."African Quarterly 15.1-2: pages.Rich, Adrienne. Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience andInstitution. New York: Norton, 1976.Thiong o, Ngugi wa. Petals of Blood. London: Heinemann, 1977.---. Devil on the Cross. London: Heinemann, 1982.Walker, Alice. "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens." In Searchof Our Mothers Gardens: Womanist Prose. New York: HarcourtBrace, 1983. 231-243.Weinstock, Donald, and Cathy Ramadan.Born in Lagos, Rose Ure Mezu, Ph.D., teaches francophone and anglophone feminist literature and theory at Baltimore's Morgan State University. She also has written a book of poems, Songs of the Hearth.Achebe sought to convey a fuller understanding of one African culture and, in doing so give voice to an underrepresented and exploited colonial subject.A prominent aspect of Achebe's work is the great amount of proverbs and storytelling present in the novel. Achebe succeeded toEach story and proverb carries a moral lesson which suggests guidelines and laws that the Igbo members follow in their everyday life; such as honor, family roles, Consequences of foolish behavior, how to deal with trickery, are all present. Nevertheless, Achebe's choice of displaying such qualities of the Igbo society reveals his attempt to reflect its liveliness. It's through storytelling that the inferior tribal people are allowed to speak revealing what they consider to be essential in life. Africans who have been portrayed as void and instinctive, now have principles and rules they obey. They cherish and appreciate honor and courage like any other society in the world. They are not only bound to instinct. These proverbs uncover what kind of society the Nigerians have built for themselves away from accusations of inferiority and senselessness.As a part of his mission to reflect a true image of the Igbo society, Achebe didn't fake a picture in which the Nigerian tribal woman has all her rights and privileges. There's no doubt that women in Igbo society didn't enjoy the best conditions a woman can dream of, men beat their wives who usually have a little chance to speak or to give their opinion. However one needs not to get satisfied with such a limited amount of analysis. Looking deeper at Achebe's work one can see that being a woman doesn't deem you to be a mere sexual or reproduction object with no other role to play in the society. There were gender roles in Igbo culture that were enforced to uphold a balanced society. Aside from participating in labor roles, control of the market place and therefore the economy, and aside from being in charge of the agricultural caretaking of the household, women in Things Fall Apart are presented as nurtures and caretakers of their children. They are the educators of the new generation. An important part of the Igbo traditions are the stories through which children learn essential lessons in life. Also, Proverbs are vital to determine the conventions and guidelines by which the Igbo society functions, "Among Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten" (7). The Igbo women play a significant role in the facilitation of this learning; they carry the education process through the ritual of storytelling. Moreover, one of the greatest privileges given to women in the Igbo society is in the Igbo religion where women perform the role of priestess. The ability of a woman to occupy the role of a priestess, a spiritual leader, reveals a clear degree of reverence for women being present in Ibo society. "Chielo" is an example of how Igbo women participated in the leadership. At one point in the story, Achebe narrates when Chielo- a woman- not orders the masculine protagonist Okonkwo to give her his daughter, and threatens him as well.This incident is of huge significance in the story; it contributes greatly to the picture that Achebe is trying to convey of the African man and helps the reader really understand the truth of this man. First, the fact that Okonkwo allows this threatening and pleading is an evidence of both the priestess's power, and his daughter's importance to him. Second it reveals the true character of the African man accused of barbarianism and cruelty. It mirrors the soft, capable of love side found in the manliest character in the book. This side once revealed, allows the reader to realize that the Nigerian tribal father is similar to any other father in the new world when facing separation from one of his children. It is not only through Okonkwo's character that the Achebe draws his picture of the normal balanced Igbo society. Balance in the novel can be seen in the representation of various aspects of the Igbo culture through the various personalities of its members such as art, justice, wisdom and power. Tribal people are not all alike or similar in the inside and outside as others claim. They do not follow the same pattern of action without reflection or thought. For example Unoka, Okonkwo's father, is presented throughout the story as a fun lover who neglects his work and enjoys relaxing and music. Similar to Unoka is Nwoye, Okonkwo's son who embodies feminist and soft characters unlike his father. And Eznima, Okonkwo's daughter, who enjoys a kind of a masculine character is her father's favorite. This characterization reveals that members of the igbo society have their own individual traits away from the pressure of social and family constraints.

RELATED

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

Paper On Is The Colonization Of Africa

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

"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

Levels Of Planning

1770 words - 8 pages Planning and organizing in respect to Wells Fargo is essential to the success of the company. The vision of Wells Fargo Bank is to move to the next stage going from "good to great," (wellsfargo.com). The organization has constantly reinvented itself through the years by creating new departments, products, services and new positions. The changes that have been made to the organization have been instrumental in the success of the company. Planning

Sun Life Case

7990 words - 32 pages social services, and 5% in other areas. Important Chinese industries include textiles, garments, machinery, cement, iron and steel, coal, and oil. Women comprise over 40% of the labor force, but this excludes the large number of women engaged in agricultural and household work.Social:Both in population and in surface China is an enormous country. This leads to many geographical differences. For instance the country knows may different languages

This essay explains why it might be hard for parents to bring up children in the Christian faith

512 words - 3 pages In order to answer this question we must firstly look at what is done at the birth of the child. If they are baptised as a baby, they clearly include no opinion in the situation. If this child doesn't believe in this faith there will be obvious rise against this as they get older and realise what it means.Furthermore, a particularly social child who is busy quite a lot of the time may find it hard to go to Church when they are supposed to and

Vpost: Case Study

436 words - 2 pages . Expenses are considered to be "costs of doing business." Hence, most organizations lack the "know how, "expertise, or time to undertake an extensive profit improvement review. A few may have access to financial resources, some of which include books, financial software, and promotional media. To begin to attack such a task, typically businesses would hire expensive consultants to examine and review their income and expenditure ratios. But in

Bhopal Gas Tragedy

1749 words - 7 pages about 8000 people died in the fist week of tragedy. Such body count kept on changing the figures regularly and continues to do so even today because till this date the dying has never stopped.Many studies made after the tragedy still show that the survivors are suffering from physical disorders like blindness, gastrointestinal disorders, impaired immune system, traumatic stress, and menstrual problems in women. Also there is a rise of abortion

Standardized Tests: Helpful Or Harmful?

2147 words - 9 pages Before entering the "real" world and making decisions about careers and life, there is one major decision one is faced with. The question of which institution will best fit their needs to prepare them for life. There are several choices to choose from. From Ivy League Schools to State Schools as well as Historically Black Colleges and Universities the list goes on and on. These schools are viewed in society on a scale. Ivy League Schools are

American History

371 words - 2 pages Throughout American history, the development of plantations (farms) in the American colonies arrived as immigrants arrived in small farms. The American people settled on the land west of the Mississippi for many diverse reasons. As the years went, by the profit and demand for crops such as tobacco grew larger. At that time, large plantation could had over 400 acres of fields growing anything from tobacco to maize and sugarcane(in the south), as

"Love In The Time Of Cholera" By Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Stylistic Analysis

815 words - 4 pages The author uses from the first person point of view. This is viewed in the first person because the author uses pronouns such as "we" and "my" in the story. To have pronouns such as "we" and "my" is the definition of first person narrators. An example of this can be seen through the following phrase:"My mother is not an inventive or convincing liar, and the excuses which occur to her are obviously second rate."We know that the narrator is

Albinism: Characteristics And Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

355 words - 2 pages Characteristics and symptomsThe characteristics and symptoms of albinism are:- very light skin color- blondish-white colored hair- visual impairments that require glasses- tendency to sunburn easily,- hearing impairments- blood-clotting problems- red/pink eyes- Low Vision- Sensitivity to bright light and glare- involuntary eye movements- "Slowness to see" in infancy- Inability of the eyes to work togetherThese are all symptoms of albinos but an