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Daran Rungwatthanasophon English 12 Mr. Bishop 4 December 2018

The Design of Genders’ Inequality from Society inspired by Things Fall Apart

The society has been designing the definition of every gender on what they are

supposed to be, treated and raised differently over centuries in most of the cultures. In present

day, we could evidently recognise how each gender responds to the society, displaying the

inequality. In Things Fall Apart, written by the Nigerian novelist named Chinua Achebe,

reflects from the reality of importance in male and female. Everyone wears different mask to

suit to the society’s desire, depending on who he or she is. Due to history, tradition, raising

and culture, men and women are treated and act differently in the society.

China Achebe describes the main male characters in the story by reflecting on how

men being raised to usually be. In Igbo culture, they have a belief that men are the dominant

sex that are shaped and expected to be strong and avoid failures. To Things fall apart,

Okonkwo, who was born from his disgraceful father in debt, did what to cover his

weaknesses and prove the entire village how success he had achieved but occasionally his

actions contradict to his true-depth emotion. The book states “Perhaps down in his heart

Okonkwo was not a cruel man but his whole life was dominated by fear,”. Because of his

background, he was raised to be afraid of failure and weakness that his father had. For

another example, the text from the book states “He heard Ikemefuna cry, ”My father, they

have killed me!” as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut

him down.”. To clarify according to this quote, Okonkwo killed his own adoptive son,

Ikemefuna, that others would not consider him weak. His action truly contradicts to his real

emotion. This example of Okonkwo reflects to reality that men are strongly influenced and

raised not to expose any of their weaknesses. Men are born to conquer the traits of

The Design of Genders’ Inequality from Society inspired by Things Fall Apart

masculinity which include strength, courage, violence, independence, and assertiveness. Even

the reality, society put unexpectedly high pressure men to be masculinity from media such as

advertisement where violence is meant to be shown causing men to follow. In the meantime,

women are raised differently from men as the society designs both genders differently.

In the viewpoint of women, they are raised in the way that society has planned to be

under limitations across from men. Women ,since birth, were accidentally raised not to be the

leader in most of circumstances. Due to old-fashioned standards or religious views, women

are not expect and have any right to lead any group of people. According to Things Fall

Apart, the book states “Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives,

especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper.”. In Igbo, men have rights

to rule their household and give command to members rather than women. This simply

means women role only raise their children properly, prepare food, and keep all the house

clean. Hence, women in Things Fall Apart reflect from the reality as most men are the one of

lead and take the responsibility for the survival of their family's members. Moreover, the

speech of woman named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says “A women at a certain age who is

unmarried our society teaches her to see it as a deep personal failure”. Women are raised to

be keeping in mind that marriage is the most important society does not expect women to

take any role like men. Therefore, the society places different levels of importance, treatment,

respect for males and females.

Since the whole society and its traditional background had treated men to show their

masculinity and manliness, men earn higher respect from the society. People tend to give

their full attention to men’s achievement or success despite women performing well on their

role. Women are raised to not go beyond men as Adichie also states “We teach girls to shrink

themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too

The Design of Genders’ Inequality from Society inspired by Things Fall Apart

much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful.” Men are born to be hard that

the society could not accept any success, achievement, or assistance from women like how

Okonkwo was unsatisfied to return to his motherland. To clarify, female has been closed

down numerous opportunities in life as the society does not expect success from this gender.

More importantly, women’s success will threaten the men as the quote states because due to

manliness and masculinity, men are born to be strong who could achieve any things; thus

men would be shamed when any woman steps ahead of them. Next, in Igbo cultures,

apparently, Okonkwo is not forbidden to have more than one wife; besides, others view him

brave and rash warrior and a clan leader. Identical to Adichie’s words, she says “ If we have

sons, we don't mind knowing about our sons' girlfriends. But our daughters' boyfriends? God

forbid.” and “ We police girls, we praise girls for virginity, but we don't praise boys for

virginity,”. In world, women takes the majority in term of population; in the mention society

does not accept polyandry not similar to polygamy. People consider men as sex gods but

seduce women as prostitutes or sluts. This sexism from Things Fall Apart’s society truly

reflects to our reality on how people provide dissimilar importance to genders.

In conclusion, inequality in genders has been occurring over years until present day

still unsolved and being evidently shown in Things Fall Apart. Men are raised to expose how

masculinity and manliness they have. Opposing to women, they are raised not to be leaders

but must literally care about their marriage and praise their children instead. For the level of

importance and acceptance from society of both genders, it is obviously the exhibition of

sexism. From my personal view, this inequality has been considered as one of the present

issues in world. People should have a step forward of their attitude by accepting, treating, and

rising both genders with equality.

The Design of Genders’ Inequality from Society inspired by Things Fall Apart


- Adichie, C. (2018). We should all be feminists. Retrieved from

- Male Gender Stereotypes Are Ruining Boys' Futures. (2018). Retrieved from

- Women Share Slut Shaming Stories — and Admit Why They Do it Themselves - #1 Mental Health Blog - Talkspace. (2018). Retrieved from

- Why Does Society Expect Women To Smile All The Time?. (2018). Retrieved from