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Gender in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

Assignment id 1011929
Discipline Writing
Assignment type Essay
Words 1465
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This paper will look at the contradictions at the work of Chinua Achebe in relation to his placement of girl and femininity. Kristen Holst Petersen says that 'the African discussion is involving feminist emancipation versus the fight against neo-colonialism, especially in its ethnic aspect...that comes first, the fight for female equality or the struggle against Western cultural imperialism'. This paper will try to highlight these contradictions in relation to Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Above all the tribe values bodily art, it places a whole lot of importance on individual achievement, these characteristics are actually intended to guarantee the safety and permanence of their group. For like most early societies this is a society that is dominated by a fire for survival. Umofia therefore cultivates the idea of the heroic ideal based on physical art. The centrality of the yam in the novel highlights the tribe's regard for bodily strength. As a consequence of the intense muscular effort required for its cultivation the yam harvest arrives to signify an annual triumph wrested from nature, a signifier of the dialogue between the human world and the natural surroundings. Nevertheless a reader soon realizes the contradictions between the constraints of the social ideal, that privileges the interests of this group, and the truths of person human yearnings. Unoka, Okonwko's dad, embodies the counter-values that stand in opposition to the rigid societal ideal of the tribe. His unorthodox manner of living is, it may be argued a conscious subversion of this manly ideal. His oppositional values are those of art, in tandem with a playful irony and an amorality which resounds along with his relaxed disposition to the world. .

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