Gender Roles in Things Fall Apart Gender • • • • Being of woman; or of man. Masculine vs. feminine Language can be gendered What are some things that we refer to as “him” or “her” but are inanimate objects. Cars Houses ? The Role of Man in Igbo culture A man in Igbo culture is expected to: • Provide food and shelter • Rule over his “clan” • Take several wives • Gain “titles” Role of Man in American culture Role of Woman in Igbo culture Women in Igbo culture are expected to: • Take care of the children • Cook for their husband • Clean and take care of the grounds and buildings. Matriarchy/Patriarchy • Matriarchy • a form of social organization in which the mother is head of the family, and in which descent is reckoned in the female line, the children belonging to the mother's clan; matriarchal system Patriarchy • a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father's clan or tribe. Is Igbo a matriarchal or patriarchal society? Important passages Relating to Gender in the book Page 13 • Okonkwo rules his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. • How does this quote show Okonkwo’s attitude toward gender? Page 53-54 • Nowye knew that it was right to be masculine and to be violent, but somehow he still preferred the stories that his mother used to tell, and which she no doubt still told to her younger children….That was the kind of story Nowye loved. But he now knew that they were for foolish women and children, and he knew that his father wanted him to be a man. And so he feigned that he no longer cared for women’s stories…” What does this passage tell us about the conflict between father and son? How does it foreshadow Nwoye’s later conversion? Page 89 Women never saw the inside of the [Egwugwu house]. No woman ever did. They scrubbed and painted the outside walls under the supervision of men. If they imagined what was inside, they kept their imagination to themselves. No woman ever asked questions about the most powerful and the most secret cult in the clan”. How does this show the different social roles in Igbo society? Page 133-135 • Read about Okonkwo’s answer to why he has been banished to his motherland. Page 68 • Read passage about the couple Ndulue and Ozoemena and their coinsiding deaths.