Masculinity In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Chinua Achebe’s 1958 literary classic, Things Fall Apart (Achebe, 1958), is renowned for its authentic account of the black African experience. Set in post-colonial Nigeria, the fictional novel discusses the cultural roots of the Igbos and follows the life of the tragic hero, Okonkwo. This acclaimed novel deals with strong patriarchal ideals of masculinity within the Igbo culture and how Okonkwo is a direct manifestation of this. Achebe depicts the relationship between masculinity and both male and female characters, and how this, in turn, has an effect on Okonkwo’s relationships. The strongest relationship in the novel is between father (Okonkwo) and daughter (Ezinma); their bond is strong because Ezinma is everything Okonkwo would want in a son. This affects and can also be seen as a reflection of Okonkwo’s other relationships between male characters, namely Unoka, Nwoye, and Ikemefuna. This essay will discuss how Achebe portrays masculinity in Things Fall Apart (Achebe, 1958), how the hyper-masculinized character, Okonkwo, receives and interacts with certain characters. I will also discuss how Okonkwo’s ridged patriarchal ideals of virility are counterintuitive with his actions and intentions of ensuring a masculine household.

Okonkwo is a titled and successful warrior in his village, Umuofia. A great amount of respect is received by Okonkwo because his youth did not promise such a prosperous life, he had to work hard for his wealth and success. There are certain
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