The position and image of women in “Things Fall Apart” is an important topic. We could even say that women actually had great power and were revered. One might think that this novel presents women as a sadly oppressed group with no power, but there are several facts, which imply the contrary idea. For instance, women are the primary educators of children. Through storytelling and other forms of discourse, they educate and socialize the children, inspiring in them an intellectual curiosity about social values, relationships, and the human condition. The stories the women tell also develop the artistic consciousness of the children, in addition to entertaining them. The women bear children, cook and take care of the household in many other ways. Through their labor, they are an important pillar of the society.
Another essential fact is the presence of Chielo, the priestess of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves. She is a spiritual leader, whose authority is unquestioned., she 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!" (Achebe 92) What is important, it is the biological role of women that influenced belief in their power. The idea is that women know the secret of life since they are the source of life.
In spite of the physical violence against women by the men, which is present in the novel; in spite of the exclusion of women from the house of the Egwugwu; in spite of the fact that the men made most of the important family and village decisions themselves, women did have much power.
Women controlled the marketplace. This was a “separate sphere” apart from male dominance. Women exerted police and judicial power over the marketplace.
Works citedAchebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart. New York: Ballantine Books, 1959.
Please type your essay title, choose your document type, enter your email and we send you essay samples