Female Characters Things Fall Apart Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

"Would you like a white woman Wongee?" Jimmie asked. "Don't seem ter make their cow-cockies happy, having white woman for 'is wife. Why else he come after black girls? Must be sum'pin to white women we ain't been told" (p. 11). The implication drawn from Wongee is that aboriginal females are sexier than white women, but Jimmie is sexually attracted to the white woman.

On page 12 Wongee describes an aboriginal woman who "Yawns for men and not with her mouth. She weeps for men and not with her eyes. She drinks men down, she is cave for men," he said, laughing. In Caledonian that Saturday night Jimmie "suddenly" was "pouring himself without joy into one of the women" while laying in the long grass so police wouldn't see them. The next time readers confront an image of an aboriginal females (p. 20) Jimmie "lay down with a scrawny gin called Florence but found that the preliminaries of copulation sent her into a whooping spasm." This aboriginal camp, called Verona, also was a place where white men came and had sex with aboriginal women. "White voices could be heard as burlap door-flaps were flung open" (this has the tone of a whore house). "Shrieking welcomes were sung to the white phallus, powerful demolisher of tribes." The narrator here seems to be suggesting that by inter-breeding with aboriginal woman the white male was turning a culture into half-breeds.

Jimmie showed zero amount of respect for the aboriginal woman: "Wot's yer animal-spirit, the, yer black bitch? I bin killin' a lot of animals lately. What animal's got yer soul, the?" (p. 25). It could be inferred here that Jimmie was afraid of the women in his own culture perhaps because his own half-black conscience was guilty or insecure? "When he does sleep with a black woman it is presented as a kind of cultural rape, of her by him," writes critic Allan James Thomas (Senses of Cinema). Anne Hickling-Hudson writes, "The tragedy of Jimmie is that, abused and humiliated by the white world for trying to grasp its icons, he is unable to relate positively to the black world, which, in spite of its faults, is his only support system" (Hickling-Hudson, 1990).

On page 29 he is having sex with "a full-blood in the same room where [his brother] Mort had her half-breed sister. The symmetry of the situation was not planned" but there was ***ng coming from Mort about "half-way through [Jimmie's] penetration of the girl." Again, readers don't know much about aboriginal females' domestic roles in this book to this point.

Sadly Jimmie finds himself in deep trouble for the murders he committed; and still he understood "that he had a copious love in him and had not spent it. He would die with his head full (he thought of it as a heedful) of unspent love" (p. 127). That love might have been better spend on a person from his own culture, but Jimmie was too distracted trying to one away from one culture to another culture -- and the irony and tragedy was he didn't really fit in either culture. And the love he wishes he could have spent but didn't was "the truest crime remaining to him to commit" -- the "waste of love" (p. 127).

In fact it seems that Jimmie Blacksmith had a totally star-crossed relationship with women of color and white women too. He was stuck between two worlds and couldn't gather enough strength to create a new world of his own through he tried. On page 170, in Jimmie's final desperate escape strategy he winds up in a chapel where he hears voices in a "clacking chant." They are saying, "God have mercy on poor Mort Blacksmith…Taught to kill women by his bastard brother Jimmie" (p. 170).

The story of Jimmie and his very colorful life and times is so prominent in this book that the image of the aboriginal woman is only sketchily covered.

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

Hickling-Hudson, Anne. "White construction of black identity in Australian films about

Aborigines. Literature Film Quarterly 18.4 (1990): 263-275.

Keneally, Thomas. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. New York: The Viking Press, 1972.

Thomas, Allan James. "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith." Senses of Cinema. Retrieved Dec.

9, 2009, from http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/cteq/00/9/chant.html.

Wehrs, Donald R. "Pre-Colonial History and Anticolonial…

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