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Essay 4 - 1 English 111 Essay 4 Goddess or Maidservant As a...

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1 English 111 Essay 4 April 20, 2009 Goddess or Maidservant As a result of the transformation of society, the social roles of women constantly change when their consciousness are waken in the battle of human versus human and human versus society. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude which profoundly describes the rise and downfall of the Buendia family can be compared to Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart which narrates the story of a man who is struggle in his gradually disintegrated world in case of the roles of women. The roles of women of these two novels are quite different. In One Hundred Year of Solitude , opposite to the society of the Igbo people, Macondo is a more egalitarian society for men and women. Similar to the modern democratic societies, men and women are treated in a fair way in Macondo. Nevertheless, in Things Fall Apart , women are doomed to be abused, exploited and serve as a sentient livestock under the male privilege. The prejudice for women and ignoring of the social value of women in terms of motherhood and wifedom are the prime criminal of the distributional and functional imbalance and extremism of the society. In order to gain benefits from social pluralism, both men and women should take on the responsibilities of politics and society equally. In Things Fall Apart , Achebe describe a men-centered world vividly that the man is everything and woman is nothing. Women are virtually invisible in the social activities and live their lives on the sideline of politics. As one critic remarks of this phenomenon "for centuries, African women languished on the fringe of their universe-neglected, exploited,
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2 degenerated, and indeed made to feel like outsiders. They were not invited to stay when men were engaged in any discussion; they were not included in councils of war; they did not form part of the masquerades representing the judiciary and ancestral spirits" (Mezu).The gender lines in Igbo society are even drawn on their agricultural system. In Igbo people’s old traditional mind, the yam is synonymous with virility. Achebe states that "yam stood for manliness, and he who could feed his family on yams from one harvest to another was a very great man indeed" (Achebe 24). Also, the communal ceremony is a symbol for virile power, and only man can attend: "it was clear from the way the crowd stood or sat that the ceremony was for men. There were many women, but they looked on from the fringe like outsiders" (Achebe 62). Women feel like outsiders for politics and government affair, because of the theme of misogyny which ranks women as second-class citizens and directly associated women with weakness. Scholar Chun analyses Okonkwo’s attitude toward weakness that: “Okonkwo was ruled by one passion-to fear of becoming "womanly" and following the lead of a powerless father. He hated anything weak or frail, and his descriptions of
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