In the book, Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe gives us a distinctive depiction of the Igbo culture through the stories of Okonkwo and his town. Other than the Igbo culture itself, commitments of ladies can’t be disregarded. Women alone play the biggest part in any society. The natural instincts of women is to care and nurture other individuals.
Ever since God made the first human beings, women would be the human beings that the men would always cherish. In Igbo culture, females are not the strongest sex but they are blessed with characteristics that make them deserving of love. A great part of the conventional Igbo life exhibited in this novel rotates around organized structured gender roles. In spite of the fact that their position and status is by all accounts disparaged by the general population in the novel, ladies do assume a vital part in the Igbo culture in different ways which are, working as priests, keeping the household intact, and taking care of their family. In the Igbo culture women are forced to be submissive wife who must bear many children and honor their men. Women that play a big role in the community like Chielo for an example shows that women are worth much more than the abilities that they are looked upon. Women who are priestesses assume a critical part in the religious life.
Chielo, the priestess, is a representative for one of the Igbo divine beings, Agbala. The novel shows Okonkwo’s inability to be allowed to keep his little girl Ezinma from being taken away: “Okonkwo was still pleading … ‘Does a man speak when a god speaks? Beware!'” (p. 90). Even though Okonkwo is a big figure in his village, he cannot go against the priest who is a big impact on the community. In the Igbo culture they do not try to go against the commands of the spokesperson for god.
Not only that, if violence is involve among the spokesperson of god that is considered an enormous sin. Women being in this position gives women some kind of power when they don’t have power in some other aspects of life. Women also have power over keeping the family intact. Between women and men, only women are able to bear children. Women’s power in a household is the connection to sex. There was a pack of men in a circle talking about the things that they over heard about the other tribes. One of the stories was that the children in the house belongs to the men wife, and her family.
Because of this, one of the men says, “That cannot be…you might as well say that the woman lies on top of the man when they are making the children” (pg. 74). This response not only shows the power that a man has in the bedroom but also who initiates the sex. Women has the power over the production of the children in the household. So if a man wants children and the women does not want children or is not able to produce children, the power is in the woman’s hand because they are not able to provide what the man wants. Women also play the role in the culture and society of the Igbo culture for caring for their children and take responsibility for their family.
Women in this society would take the responsibility of educating their children through storytelling. One case is Ezinma’s mom, Ekwefi, who discloses to her little girl the tall tale about the Tortoise: “Tortoise saw all these preparations and soon discovered what it all meant… That is why Tortoise’s shell is not smooth” (p. 88). In this particular fairy tail, it teaches the children not to mislead other individuals, and not to trust individuals who continuously lie. The fairy tales that they often tell the children tells them a story. In most cases it comes with lessons and ethics, which teaches the children not to do certain thing like steal or lie. Another example of a woman taking responsibility for their family is when Achebe portrays an ordinary moment saying that “Nwoye’s mother is already cooking… She cut the yams into small pieces and began to prepare a pottage” (p.
39). This is an example of Okonkwo’s wife in her natural habitat doing housework. The author depicts those scenes to demonstrate the work that is finished by women and their significance to the town. Women takes care of the household and makes sure everyone is fed.
Even though women in Things Fall Apart is shown as people who follow the commands of their husband and is sought out to be doing what they are suppose to. They also play a big role in the community and the Igbo culture. In spite of the fact that their position and status is by all accounts disparaged by the general population in the novel, ladies do assume a vital part in the Igbo culture in different ways which are, working as priests, keeping the household intact, and taking care of their family. Without the support from women in his society and the work that they put in, the men would not last a day without them.