Paper One

Paper One - Yip 1 Stacey Yip Andrea Dominguez TWS 21: A03...

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Yip 1 Stacey Yip Andrea Dominguez TWS 21: A03 19 April 2010 Masculinity and the Disintegration of Man Masculinity is a social construct and is created by what society as a whole views manliness as. Regardless of what masculinity is defined as in each society, stereotypes are inevitably created and a fantasy of manliness is formed. Each society’s definition of masculinity puts pressure on its males to act and perform a certain way, and this pressure only builds up in one’s self. Eventually the pressure is far too great to handle and can cause damage to one’s self- esteem and confidence when the victim cannot meet the standards and expectations placed on him to act a certain way. Masculinity is a dangerous social construct that can lead to serious consequences. In the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo’s character demonstrates the problem with a patriarchal society that over-emphasizes masculinity, which ultimately backfires and leads to the disintegration of Okonkwo himself. As an achievement based society, Okonkwo’s village, Umuofia, stresses the importance of masculinity through success and worth. When discussing Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, it is said that Unoka failed to successfully make a name out of himself: “Among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father. Okonkwo was clearly cut out for great things…Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered” (8). From the very beginning of the novel, it is clearly stated that achievement is held as the marker of success, and that the success of one’s father is not important. From this, it is implied that Okonkwo does not have to live in the shame of his father but can build his own manhood up
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Yip 2 by working hard. In reference to Unoka again, it is explained that Okonkwo is driven to be the complete opposite of his father: “With a father like Unoka, Oknokwo did not have the start in life which many young men had…He threw himself into it like one possessed. And indeed he was
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Paper One - Yip 1 Stacey Yip Andrea Dominguez TWS 21: A03...

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