Things Fall Apart
Gender Quotes Page 11
How we cite our quotes:
“You have all seen the great abomination of your brother. Now he is no longer my son or your brother. I will only have a son who is a man, who will hold his head up among my people. If any one of you prefers to be a woman, let him follow Nwoye now while I am alive so that I can curse him.” (20.7)
Okonkwo considers Nwoye’s defection to the Christian side a sign of lost masculinity and also unworthiness to be considered part of Okonkwo’s family. So adamant is he that his children follow the stereotypical traditions of what is masculine and what is feminine that he disowns Nwoye for his crime, and will do the same to any of his other children that follow in Nwoye’s footsteps.
Okonkwo was very lucky in his daughter. He never stopped regretting that Ezinma was a girl. Of all his children she alone understood his every mood. A bond of sympathy had grown between them as the years had passed. (20.8)
Again, Okonkwo regrets that Ezinma has been born a girl since he believes she has the right spirit for a man. Furthermore, she understands him, a bond which he would greatly prefer to share with another man instead of a lowly woman.
Ezinma grew up in her father’s exile and became one of the most beautiful girls in Mbanta. She was called Crystal of Beauty, as her mother had been called in her youth. The young ailing girl who had caused her mother so much heartache had been transformed, almost overnight, into a healthy, buoyant maiden. She had, it was true, her moment of depression when she would snap at everybody like an angry dog. These moods descended on her suddenly and for no apparent reason. But they were very rare and short-lived. As long as they lasted, she could bear no other person but her father. (20.9)
Ezinma is becoming more and more stereotypically feminine. Her extraordinary beauty makes her much desired by men, but she still retains trans-gender traits like her somewhat fiery temper and her concord with her hyper-masculine father.