In "Efuru", Flora Nwapa put a lot of emphasis in marriage and procreation. Both of these aspects are indispensable in creating new family units and in increasing the population of the family or lineage. Nwapa is reflecting, in "Efuru", the situation, as it exists in her society. Children are greatly valued in "Efuru". Each marriage is expected to produce many siblings, both male and female (with preference for a male).
In Igbo culture, the most important reason for marriage is procreation. Even in marriages where love is the main attraction that brings couples together, the desire to have children is always the ultimate goal. This is the reason why most marriages, including those that are built on affection, crumble or are seriously threatened when they are not blessed with children. Why do everyday Igbo woman, whether married or unmarried, have a strong desire to have a child?
The concern with procreation is not limited to the marriage couple. It is their relatives, friends, and neighbors who first express these concerns when the woman has not become pregnant. A year after their first marriage, Efuru and Adizua (in her first marriage)-and she and Eneberi (in her second marriage)-are still enjoying new and fresh marital life when gossip spreads about Efuru's barrenness, among her female neighbors, as anxious gossips are made over the fact that she has not had any children:
'Seeing them together is not the important thing,'
another said. 'The important thing is that nothing
has happened since the happy marriage. We are not
going to eat happy marriage. Marriage must be fruit-
ful. Of what use is it if it is not fruitful. Of what use
is it if your husband licks your body, wo...
... middle of paper ...
...on to achieve economic independence and a measure of fulfillment as human beings in their communities. To me, the Lake Goddess is kind of used to criticize the tradition that values women as only being useful for the sake of procreation rather than a human being with aspirations to attain self-fulfillment and independence. The image of the goddess symbolizes the potential of Igbo womanhood. They can aspire and achieve great things in life; they are not only here on this earth for the sake of procreation. All women are not only here on this earth for the sake of procreation. It also represents the glory and beauty of womanhood. The Lake Goddess gives women the power to aspire, whether it's economic aspirations, political aspirations, or social aspirations.
1. Nwapa, Flora. Efuru. Great Britain. Heinemann Publishers. 1966.
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