Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Through a Feminist LensNina Erickson
I need cover for Ojiugo so she gets less punishment
Did Ojiugo tell you to feed her children?
"Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements."
How dare you neglect your duties !!!
"As a young man of eighteen, he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat" in a wrestling contest. Amalinze had been "unbeaten for seven years."
But he was haunted by the memory of his dead father, Unoka, who was "lazy and improvident" in Okonkwo's eyes and had died in debt.
During the Week of Peace, Okonkwo notices that his youngest wife, Ojiugo, has left her hut to have her hair braided without having cooked dinner for her children. Instead, Ekwefi cooks and lies for Ojiugo's safety.
"In his anger he had forgotten that it was the week of peace." He beats her for her negligence, shamefully breaking the peace of the sacred week
At the end of peace week, as the Feast of the New Yam approaches, Okonkwo becomes angry, and he finally comes up with an excuse to beat his second wife, Ekwefi. He then decides to go hunting with his gun. Okonkwo is not a good hunter, however, and Ekwefi mutters a snide remark under her breath about “guns that never shot.” Okonwo shoots at her. She lies there in the barn "much shaken and frightened but quite unhurt".
Okonkwo believed "No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man."
Okonkwo's adopted son, Ikemefuna, had been with the family for three years and "was like an elder brother to Nwoye", Okonkwo's biological son. Nwoye who was once seen as lazy and effeminate now liked to do "difficult and masculine tasks" and "would feign annoyance and grumble aloud about women and their troubles." Okonkwo was pleased.
An oracle of Umuofia decrees Ikemefuna to be killed, and when Nwoye overhears Okonkwo telling his adopted son that it's time to 'go home' Nwoye "burst into tears, whereupon his father beat him heavily"
Okonkwo is always under pressure to behave "like a man," to be violent. When Ikemefuna isn't killed immediately and runs to his 'father' for help, Okonkwo joins in killing him under social pressure because he "was afraid he would be thought weak."