What are some examples of how wife beating reflects the community's attitude toward women in Things Fall Apart?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo clearly does not have respect for women. He beats his wives as he does his children. He treats his wives as his children. He is violent and extremely aggressive.

Truly, Okonkwo does not appreciate his wives as he should. He does not see them as his equal. Women have no rights in Okonkwo's compound and the community.

During the Week of Peace, Okonkwo does not respect his wives. He beats his youngest wife because she was having her hair done instead of cooking his meal. Clearly, his wives have no freedoms. Okonkwo disrespects more than one of his wives:

Okonkwo also has a dark and dangerous side, for he controls his family through anger. In bouts of rage, he beats his youngest wife, Ojiugo, for neglecting to cook dinner and braiding her hair instead during the Week of Peace. He also takes a shot at Ekwefi with a rusty gun during the Yam Festival.

The fact that Okonkwo's tribe respects him is an indication that women can be treated with such disrespect at any cost. Of course, the women do not have the value of that of a man in Okonkwo's compound. Clearly, women are underprivileged. They do not have the worth as that of a man. Sadly enough, Okonkwo's wives walk around in trepidation of Okonkwo. The community supports Okonkwo in spite of his obvious disrespect toward women. He is considered a great leader:

Okonkwo stands out as a great leader of the Ibo tribe. Tribesmen respect Okonkwo for his many achievements.

Obviously, in the community women can be treated with severity with no dishonor to a man.

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Things Fall Apart

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