In a patriarchal culture steeped in masculine notions and heroic traditions, where a male’s virility is measured in terms of the number of men he has beheaded in a battle, how will a man define his identity? Things Fall Apart, an English novel written by the Nigerian writer…
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His father’s lack of courage and financial insecurity stirs his obsession for masculinity and he is motivated to become a chivalrous warrior and a man of great wealth, who could provide everything his family needs. Thus, Okonkwo’s character thrives on the notion of filling a vacuum in the realms of masculinity that his father so cowardly left. On the other hand, he remains concerned about his son Nwoye of 12 years of age, whom he perceives as lazy. This causes the anguish in Okonkwo that his son will grow up to become an ‘efukfu’, a worthless loser like his father. Consequent to a settlement, Okonkwo acquires a virgin and a 15 year old boy named Ikemefuna as reward from another tribe and he envisions an ideal son in the latter. However, despite his love for Ikemefuna, he kills him just to save himself from appearing weak in front of others. Thus, through each thread in the fabric of TFA’s plot, Achebe emphasizes Okonkwo’s yearning for recognition as a manly hero in the patriarchal society that values masculinity as the most honored trait.
Right from the beginning of the story, Achebe illustrates the significance of masculinity in the Umuofian society by referring to the fact that at the age of 18, Okonkwo has earned honor in the village by winning a wrestling contest with ‘Amalinze the Cat’ who has been the unbeaten champion for over seven years. Even while describing the fight, the author strives to accentuate the masculinity of both warriors by showing how every vein and “every muscle” on their arms, back and thighs stands out (Achebe Ch.1). Thus, the audience receives a clear idea of the pivotal role of masculinity in the Nigerian culture and how male characters in the story cherish the notion of manliness. On the other hand, Achebe also distinctly depicts the motivation of the male protagonist by orienting the readers about his father’s lack of masculinity by portraying Unoka,
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“Gender in TFA Research Paper Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/english/1669592-gender-in-tfa.
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