Things Fall Apart - Theme of Manliness

Things Fall Apart - Theme of Manliness

  • Submitted By: mark3297
  • Date Submitted: 02/01/2015 9:44 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 397
  • Page: 2

Manliness is shown through physical strength and wrestling – Okonkwo described as the “fiercest” – superlative proving his incredible ability in fighting. This act on manliness makes him “well known” and gives him “fame” proving the importance of manliness in Igbo society

Okonkwo’s manliness also portrayed through his physical appearance – “tall and huge” “bushy eyebrows” “wide nose”  very bald and severe features


Okonkwo “ruled his household with heavy hand” – authoritative and in complete control.

“Agbala”, the term used to describe a man with no titles, also means woman. This proves that manliness is earned in Igbo society based on your achievements and capabilities. The fact that Okonkwo “suffers” when his father was called this, proves how embarrassing it is for someone to be unmanly in Igbo society.

Okonkwo associates masculinity with aggression and feels that anger is the only emotion that he should display. For this reason he frequently beats his wives and children and they lived “in perpetual fear of his fiery temper”. The diction “perpetual” emphasizes the constant suffering he puts them through in order to continuously re-enforce his manliness.

Manliness is also represented through the ability to run a farm. Okonkwo “worked daily… from cock-crow until the chickens went to roost” proving his non-stop physical effort.


Other than strength, wealth was the greatest portrayal of manliness in Igbo society. The fact that Nwakibie “had three huge barns, nine wives and thirty children” proves he is very masculine  earning him “the highest but one title which a man could take”


Okonkwo believes emotion makes one weak and therefore unmanly. Repeated use of term “inwardly” – proves Okonkwo’s reluctance to show emotion and weakness to anyone.

Okonkwo says “this meeting is for men” to a man with no titles, implying that he believes he is a woman. This accentuates that titles and...

Similar Essays