Gender Roles In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Going against customs and traditions you’ve known your whole life isn’t easy. In Things Fall Apart ,by Chinua Achebe, Ezinma breaks tradition both generationally and in gender roles, she is a symbol for how tradition changes in Umuofia and in her family. Ezinma follows a journey throughout the book that demonstrates tradition on a larger scale in the community and in her personal life. One of the ways Ezinma shows traditional change is generationally. When Ezinma is helping her mother with chores Ezinma calls her mother and says, “‘Ekwefi, is it true that when people are grown up, fire does not burn them?’Ezinma, unlike most children, called her mother by her name” (40). This is very unusual considering that a child’s parent is supposed …show more content…

When Okonkwo is talking about Ezinma’s behavior he says, “If Ezinma had been a boy I would have been happier. She has the right spirit” (66). Even her parents noticed that she wasn’t a typical Umuofia girl and she possesses masculine qualities. When Ezinma is doing chores for the house she asks, “‘Can I bring your chair for you?’ ‘No, that is a boy's job.’ Okonkwo was specially fond of Ezinma” (44). Ezinma is told by her father to leave the hard work for the boys even though she wants to do it. Ezinma wants Okonkwo to like her and she wants to impress him by being manly because Okonkwo values manliness. Okonkwo believes that Ezinma’s willingness to do so much for her father is very admirable and he likes Ezinma the most out of all of his children. When Okonkwo is talking about how much he likes Ezinma he says,”He never stopped regretting that Ezinma was a girl. Of all his children she alone understood his every mood” (173) Okonkwo stated that he wishes she was a boy because she would be a better boy than her brothers are. Even though Okonkwo values masculinity and strength and thinks that his son’s should display those qualities, he appreciates Ezinma because she shows proof of showing some of these qualities. This is unusual because in the Igbo society men are superior to women and should be the mother’s favorite and not the

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