Essay on The Writings Of Women Throughout West Africa

Essay on The Writings Of Women Throughout West Africa

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The writings of women in West Africa are similar to the writings of men in reaction to the distorting images and representation projected by the imperial colonial masters. Authors like Chinua Achebe and others wrote to tell the African man’s story by an African in order to set ‘the record straight.’ In doing this, they bring to the fore their own bias and stereotypes about women in the society. Their writings were replete with the ‘African way’ of treating women – objects, properties, and expendable (Boyce Davies 1994). While women like Flora Nwapa and other earlier writers told the African woman story without an appearance of opposition to the male hegemony, “male literary critics have tended to marginalize women’s writing and to dismiss foundational texts like Flora Nwapa’s Efuru(1966) as trivial, ‘domestic’ novels with no place in the region’s literary canon (see e.g., Ojo-Ade,1983)” (Newell138).Writers like Senegalese Mariama Ba, and Nigerian Buchi Emechata wrote in a not so subtle way. Their writings clearly oppose the way the female identity and issues are constructed by the male writers. “The way gender and class intersect in an African context continues to be an ongoing critical lever of analysis, despite some recent turns in the study of African gender systems that have evaded class as a critical variable” (Davies 2015). However, emerging female writers in Africa are doing all they can to make sure necessary issues get deserved attention.
Newell, a professor of English with research focus on the public sphere in post-colonial West Africa, agrees that, African female writers are using “the novel to propose new ways of perceiving womanhood in their societies and thus generate a gender-scape for the circulation of...


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...motherhood he was soon bored and would go further afield for some other exciting, tall and proud female” (Joys of Motherhood 10). She chooses not to be an addition to his harem, but content to be his mistress as long as he meets with her in her father’s house.
Ona’s refusal to marry Agbadi makes her a competition for him. According to the narrator: “He ruled his family and children as if he were a god. Yet he gave her his love without reservation, and she enjoyed it; she suspected however that her fate would be the same as that of his other women should she consent to become one of his wives” (15). She gets pregnant eventually, and gives birth to the protagonist of the novel, Nnu Ego. She turns out to be nothing like her mother, who died shortly after she was born. Readers are first introduced to her trying to commit suicide by jumping off Carter’s bridge in Lagos.

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