Language and Gender Representation in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

  •  Blessing U. Ijem    
  •  Isaiah I. Agbo    


This article examines the linguistic construction of gender in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. It shows how this reflects the social reality of the relationships between women and men in society, which is firstly structured in the unconscious mind. The examination of language use in constructing genders in the novel is important as it unveils the relationships between the male and the female in society. This is because gender representation is influenced by unconscious and hidden desires in man. This study specifically examines Achebe’s use of grammatical categories in the construction of the male and female genders in Things Fall Apart. To this end, it reflects the pre-colonial Igbo society in its socially stratified mode, which language served as the instrument for both exclusion and oppression of women. This article shows that the male and female genders dance unequal dance in a socially, politically and economically stratified society where the generic male gender wields untold influence over women in that pre-colonial Igbo society. The study further shows that Achebe used language in Things Fall Apart to glorify masculine gender while portraying the female gender as docile, foolish, weak and irresponsible second-class citizen.

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