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Chapters 2-3

posted Oct 18, 2011 19:19:53 by
Using the description of Okonkwo’s compound on page 14, analyze how members live within the Ibo community of Umuofia. Okonkwo rules “his household with a heavy hand.” What do Okonkwo’s interactions with his wife and family reveal about feminine and masculine roles within Ibo society?
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6 replies
ZACH03 said Oct 23, 2011 17:44:48
In the Ibo community, even within families people seem to live separately from others. All of the wives have their own hut in the compound, and the man has his own in the center. Okonkwo's interractions with his wives reveals that Ibo society has given more power to the man. Okonkwo barks orders at his wives and tells them very little of what is actually happening. By separating himself in his own central hut, he is stating that he is much greater than the wives, whose huts surround his. IN Ibo society, the men is the decision makers and rulers, while the women take care of the children and the housework.
MAT03 said Oct 23, 2011 18:41:54
I agree with Zach in that the men of the Ibo society not only view themselves as superior to the women but wish to separate themselves almost entirely from the inferior opposite sex. Okonkwo supports the idea of the men being above the women in society when he states "Do what you are told, women"(14). Okonkwo gave his senior wife an order and than chides her for asking a question about his order. The wife simply becomes quite and does as she was told expressing her fear and respect for her husband. Achebe describes how Okonkwo wishes to separate himself from his wives when he states that"Each of his three wives had her own hut which together formed a half moon behind the obi" (14). Okonkwo provides his three wives with their own hut that is apart from his as a way to prove his superiority to his wives and how they do not deserve to live in the same hut as him.
COLIN03 said Oct 23, 2011 21:54:10
I agree with Zach's statement that "Ibo society has given more power to the man" but I do not not fully agree with Matt's statement that men are sexist. I feel that giving each wife her own house gives them an independence from the man. Something that would support Matt's statement would be if all three lived in the same hut. Also, Okonkwo's ruling of "his house hold with a heavy hand" is justified due to his rejection of his father and "to hate everything that his father had loved. . . [including] gentleness and. . . idleness" (13). Okonkwo treats everyone maliciously, including his eldest son. Ibo culture says that men inherit things from their fathers, Okonkwo goes to great lengths to reject his father and his lack of accomplishment.
CIARA03 said Oct 23, 2011 22:21:23
I agree that the man has more power then the women, and I also think that the men are somewhat sexist. In chapter 2 it said that an "agbala" was the name for both a woman, or a man who has taken no title. We learned in chapter 1 that having no titles was shameful, so they are comparing shameful men to women. Also, on page 17 Okonkwo yells at a woman and says "DO what you are told, woman." He called her woman to point out that she was inferior to him.
TEREN03 said Oct 23, 2011 23:58:36
the "agbala" ambiguity is a really important bit when discussing gender roles. Also, the fact that the women all live in their own huts is important to show their separation from Okonkwo and the rest of the compound. Being the last person to post this stinks...
EM03 said Oct 24, 2011 01:51:29
I agree that gender roles exsist in the community. While Achebe never specifically said it, the reader can automatically assume that the man of the household will get the larger hut. There is no reason why he should get a larger hut except for the fact of gender roles in the society. The woman of the family must do all of the housework and take care of the kids, while the man works outside his compound thus not needing a larger house then his wives.
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