Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 59

THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE SOCIO- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF

NIGERIA AS IN THE JOYS OF MOTHERHOOD BY BUCHI EMECHETA

AJAYI ABIMBOLA OHIZA

07/15CD031

PROJECT SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH,

UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN, ILORIN, KWARA STATE, NIGERIA

IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT FOR THE AWARD OF THE BACHELOR OF

ARTS (HONOURS) ENGLISH DEGREE

MAY, 2011.

1

CERTIFICATION

This project work has been read and approved as meeting one of the

requirements for the award of Bachelor of Arts (honours) degree in the Department of

English of Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State Nigeria.

--------------------------

Dr. (Mrs.) B. F. Ibrahim

Project Supervisor

------------------------

Dr. S.T Babatunde

Head of Department

-------------------------

External Examiner

------------------------

DATE

----------------------

DATE

-------------------------

2

DATE

DEDICATION

This essay is dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the author and

perfecter of my faith. I give glory to his name for enabling me to achieve success at

the end of my first degree programme.

I also dedicate this essay to my Late Uncle, Major Musa Leramoh. May his

gentle soul rest in peace.

3

ACKNOWLEGDEMENT

My sincere thanks and appreciation goes to the God Almighty who has been

my strength and fortress ever since I was born. I give him all the praise for his divine

provision and protections throughout my stay in the University. I give him the glory

for helping me achieve my dreams of obtaining a degree programme and making me

who I am today.

My great appreciation also goes to my supervisor, Dr. Mrs. B.F. Ibrahim,

towards the success of this essay. Her words of advice and correction have helped me.

I pray the good Lord bless you abundantly.

I express my profound gratitude to my parents, Mr. and Mrs. A.O. Ajayi, who

helped me through my stay in the university. I love you so much. I also appreciate the

efforts of my loving grand mother, Mrs. C.O Ajayi. May the good Lord continue to

bless you. I use this medium to appreciate the love and care of My Big Mummy, Mrs.

P.O. Leramoh, may you live to reap the fruit of your labour.

Moreso, I want to appreciate the love and care of my beloved siblings, aunts,

uncles and cousins. I pray the good Lord will grant them all their heart desires.

The endless support and love of all my friends and roommates cannot be

waved

aside.

I

am

indeed

indebted

to

4

you

all.

I

appreciate

your

words

of

encouragement towards my educational career. I love you all and I want to say a big

thank you to you all.

5

ABSTRACT

This thesis is concerned with feminist aesthetics carving out the motherist theory in

the title The role of women in the Socio–economic development of Nigeria using

Buchi Emecheta as an example. It is a common knowledge that most Nigerian culture

gives more cognition for the “men”in the society than the women.This study however

aims at examining and analysing Emecheta’s text The Joys of Motherhood, written by

Buchi

Emecheta,

as

it

enumerates

in

themes

,

characterisations

and

plot

construction.This study shows the travails of a women being subjected by her

tradition. It also how the culture of a society gives more room for the man than the

woman.Nigerian women however in their society has proved to be more than bench

warming

spectators,even

in

the

midst

of

their

male

dominated

professional

congregations.This research is aimed at promoting further related feminist studies in

Literature.

6

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page

i

Certification

ii

Dedication

iii

Acknowledgements

iv

Abstract

v

Table of Content

vi

CHAPTER ONE – GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 Introduction.

1

1.1 The Economic Contribution of women in Nigeria.

3

1.2 The Social Contribution of women in Nigeria.

4

1.3 Statement of the Research Problem.

7

1.4 Purpose of Research.

8

1.5 Justification.

8

1.6 Scope of the work.

9

7

1.7

Methodology.

10

1.8 Data Description.

10

1.9 Biography of Buchi Emecheta.

11

CHAPTER TWO – LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0

A Review of feminist theory.

15

CHAPTER THREE – DATA ANALYSIS

3.1 The Feminist Role in the plot construction

29

3.2 The family setting of Emechetas The Joys of Motherhood

33

3.3 Theme and Feminist technique in Characterisation.

35

CHAPTER FOUR

Conclusion.

47

Bibliography.

8

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Traditionally the experience of marriage and motherhood dominates the life

and identity of women in Africa. Women were left behind to mind the home and

children. Traditionally it is believed that the life of a woman is distinct, pure and

counted to be unstained. She could be classified as peaceful, without and within as an

entity. She was economically dependent, as she only fulfills her role as a wife, a

mother and a builder of home.

It is believed that an African woman should be

involved in domestic duties like farming task and skilled craft production.

Raising your children and being the best you can be, so that you know your

child will grow up to make u proud, is what the African society has pumped into the

meaning of Motherhood. It is believed in a contemporary African society that

Motherhood is one of the most wonderful titles a woman can experience. Mothers

have historically fulfilled the primary role in raising children. The African society

feels that the best thing a woman can do is to give birth to children, stay at home to

breast feed them, take very good care of them and even follow the husband to the

farm or take the products to the Market. She is respected for this because this proves

her as strong and hardworking Woman. The efforts made by each sex are subordinate.

Each sex has equal condition. The contribution made by African women in the

9

provision of both financial and social facilities is equal. Upon all the works a woman

involves herself, the woman is still considered as not equal to man in traditional

African society. In some societies in African only the male children are counted in a

family during census, because they believe female children cannot stay long in the

family, they will get married. Some husbands count their wives as possessions.

Women in a typical African society are placed second to men. It is due to the

conception held from creation story, since the first woman was said to have been

created from the first mans rib, she is believed to be a subordinate to the first man.

The African society feels that a woman’s problem cannot be solved without the help

of a man. An African woman who is without a husband is looked down upon and has

no protection from any in dignity. The assumed psychological belief that women are

second to men has made women to be deprived equal political post with men in the

society.

However women has rebel and created personal lives within the framework of

possibilities and limitations set by structure and culture. These days women are

striving hard to have a say in the society. Gone are the days when you have the

women being relegated to the background. The notion of the education of women

ending in the kitchen does not apply to the women of this age, as they combine

Motherhood with their respective careers. They are able to do these successfully

without one affecting the other. Indeed the women of this age have successfully

survived and they are found at the top in the society.

10

The contribution of women to the progress of the society can’t be put aside.

This range

from the economic growth like

marketing,

weaving,

manufactured

products and also household affairs. The society however did not pay keen attention

to the great contribution of women to the growth of the society and this has gone a

long

way

to

dampen

their

morals

and

make

their

effort

fruitless.

Vladimir

Lenin(1997:94) asserts the importance of women in the society and says “We cannot

go forward without Women”, in spite of the efforts of women to strive to the higher

place in the society, they are still at great disadvantage and seen as inferior by their

male counter parts. The male see them as second Fiddle and as such did not recognize

their

immense contribution towards the growth of the society. This notion is

supported by Fela Anikulapo(1986) and he says “Definitely a woman’s place is in the

kitchen. That is a fact unless you want us to take your job from you”.

Women are no more left behind in the affairs of the society. They now

identify themselves with the societal affairs, they form associations which pursue

their common interest. They have stood up to take important roles in the socio

economic development of their societies.

1.1 THE ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION OF WOMEN IN NIGERIA

Across the different Africa regions Women have stood up to agitate on the

importance of the roles of women in the society. Such women include the likes of

Madam Tinubu of Egbaland in the western part of Nigeria. She was a notable trader,

11

who also had political power. She use to safe guard her Economic Empire against the

invasion of the British, Brazillian and Saro traders. Due to her success as a business

woman and a politician, she was given the title of Iyalode of Egbaland.

As Marketers of the farm product, the contribution of women to the economic

well being of Nigeria is enormous and much greater than they are acknowledge for.

Some women do help their Husband on the distant Farm to plant Cassava, while their

husband plants Yams. The women are largely responsible for the harvesting of Farm

product and they carry it to the Market to sell. Nigerian women are economic assets

to their family and Society.

The role of women in Nigerians economic sector cannot be over emphasized,

as they engaged in weaving, Pot making, and dyeing to assist themselves financially.

The role of Women in the family units made them indispensable entities in the

struggle to survive against the harsh realities of time and tended to endow women

with significant influence in their society.

Nigerian women are sensitive, compassionate understanding empathetic. They

are givers and nurturers of life.

1.2 THE SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION OF WOMEN IN NIGERIA

Findings have shown that women are understanding, givers and nurturers of life.

Their roles in child bearing and raising children are indispensable in any given

society. It is through her that the child learns the first rule in the social life: Good

12

manners and acceptable behaviours, until the child is weaned. A Mother does not

only take care of the education of the children, but also instruct her Family member

on how to have good manners and etiquettes which are habit and acceptable social

behaviour.

Despite woman’s contribution in both financial and Educational sectors, they

are not treated as equals to the men in some African societies. Women in most

African communities are placed second to men, since creation they are believed to be

subordinate to men. Although these women are economically independent, they are

submissive in nature.

Women in Africa have joined women in other nations in their quest for rights,

opportunity, relevance and recognition. Various women in the world stood against all

area of life endeavour. Happily today we have an Avalanche of female writers in

Africa. The list include Stella Oyedepo, Zaynab Alkali, Ifeoma Okoye, Mable Segun,

Adaorah Lily-Vlasi, Remi Adedeji, Folashayo

Ovbiagele etc.

Ogunrinde, Flora Nwapa, Helen

The emergence of women writers on the literary scene in Nigeria marks the

beginning of female centered novels. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo trilogy The last of the

Strong ones, House of symbols and Children of the Eagle have succeeded in gaining

wide readership. Ezeigbo is a feminist writer that believes that when a woman writes,

13

she writes based on her personal experiences which tend to be more of things

experienced by the gender in terms of injustice done to them.

Female writers like Maya Angelou, Magret Atwood, Susan Brown Miller,

Simon de Beauvior, Mariam Ba, Judith Butler, Buchi Emecheta and so many more,

have risen to fight for their belief in the Social, Political and Economic equality of the

sexes. This they called FEMINISM.

Feminism

can

be

defined

as

the

movement

aimed

at

establishing

and

defending equal Political Opportunities for women. Much has been written by critics

concerning the definition of Feminism as a concept but perhaps no view has

identified its outstanding Tenets more aptly than that which links it to the social

disabilities under which women lived for most of the time Human History. To this

extent therefore, Oliver Banks has defined feminism as a Historical phenomenom,

which started from:

A sense of dissatisfaction with the conditions of women’s live and

Opportunities coupled with the beliefs that women’s disabilities

rise not from nature itself, nor indeed from any ills which afflict

mankind but from the way in which woman’s desire and abilities

have been made subordinate to their needs, desire and interest of men.

14

This explains why the concept of Feminism incorporates the belief and faith

that a solution could be found to the problem their proving for not only an ideology

but also a programme of action.

Emecheta’s central idea in The Joys of Motherhood is feminism. She fights

against exploitation and pursue the cause of women in her text.

1.3 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

The African society believes that, no matter how well a woman works, she

can’t be considered as being equal to a man, because a man is stronger physically

than a woman.

With no doubt men are stronger physically and is the head of the family, but

does this fact create room for the oppression of female gender? Does this mean that

women should only be called upon, when her husband is hungry or when the time for

child bearing comes? Does this also give room for women to be trampled upon by

men? Most importantly should this deprive women the opportunity of contributing to

the development of Nigeria?

African tradition has stereotyped the woman. Marriage and Motherhood are

used

by the

society as the

measuring instrument

to

gauge a woman’s social

development and success. The laws, rules and regulation of culture in Nigeria allot

the authority, respect and power of a community to a man.

15

This research work has being embarked on, in order to state the relevance of

women in the society and Nigeria at large and also help in the rise of women in seats

of power without being looked down on or given a hostile treatment.

1.4 PURPOSE OF RESEARCH

The research entails the role played by women in the text The Joys of Motherhood

written by Buchi Emecheta.The purpose however is to critically analyze the texts i.e.

examine the feminist issues, in the texts that aligns with the contribution of women to

Nigeria and to know how Buchi Emecheta use the Female character in the novel to

portray how women confront the challenges mated on them by the male, in the male

domineering society.

Another purpose is to appraise the Nigerian women for their contribution

towards the socio-economic growth of Nigeria.

1.5

JUSTIFICATION

It has been identified that Feminism is a word that evokes strong reactions

from different people. Politically and Culturally Feminism is seen as an important

ideology which is alien to African society.

Some works have be done in the past in relation to Feminism and they have

been done well for example The Feminist Perspective in Flora Nwapa’s Efuru

Oyebiyi Oyebanji Isreal,(2008).Feminism in African Literature, A Case Study of

16

Mariam Baa’s, So Long a Letter and Zaynab Alkali’s The Stillborn and so many

Feminist related work.

However this research work aims at tracing women’s participation in seeking

solution to the Political, Social and Economic problems in Nigeria.

African women, most especially Nigerian women will benefit immensely

from this research work. This research work will wield a new spirit of liberation from

sexual, social and political constraint that has inhabited women. It will also help blaze

a new trial of female consciousness in Nigeria women who has been brain washed

that women are irrelevant in the society.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE WORK

This research work titled “The Role of women in the socio-economic

development in Nigeria is The Joys of Motherhood”, will only be limited to the way

through which Buchi Emecheta, in her novel portrays the extent to which woman can

go as to function and influence their community positively in spite of all odds.

This research won’t cover the stylistic analysis of The Joys of Motherhood in

order to avoid over clumsiness.

17

1.7

METHODOLOGY

The method adopted in achieving these aims and objectives is by appraising

the primary text to be used in this study. Since Feminism Is a Political and socio-

Economic concept, a sociological reading of the primary text will be done, to

establish their effect on the women, in the Nigerian society.It is believed that the

sociological approach will best explain the socio-economic contribution of women to

the Society.

The Secondary source will consist of library research in which textbook

article and journals will be considered.

1.8 DATA DESCRIPTION

The Joys of Motherhood is an eighteen chaptered novel, with Two hundred

and Twenty Four pages. It was first published by Allison and Busby (1979).This

Fictional work is Buchi Emecheta Fourth novel to be published. The Fictional work is

a story set during the period of early colonization period of Nigeria.

This novel treats the socio-cultural and economic problems of the Nigerian

women in an urban setting. It pictures the difficult situation and obstacle that a

woman goes through, when she is not able to bear Children in marriage.

A substantial portion of this work is devoted to Nnu Ego’s conception of the

Joys and responsibilities of Motherhood. Nnu Ego whose life had long been predicted

18

and pre-destined for her as a result of the consequences of a harsh tradition. Nnu Egos

life is one filled with travails as she, all through her life suffered for what she knew

nothing about. She experienced shame and segregation due to her inability to bear

children for her husband. Her cause of destiny is however changed as she is

manipulated to travel from her hometown (Ibuza) to a more modernized city Lagos.

Nnu Ego finally settles in Lagos, she faces many challenges in her

matrimonial home such as excruciating poverty ,death of her so-much loved first

child(son),addition of more wives by her husband, the forcing of her husband into

army, malnutrition in her and her children and finally she dies a lonely and forsaken

Mother. All this is however in contrast of her reason for going to Lagos. She hoped

that she will marry and settle there and her Chi may have mercy on her and give her

prosperous children, who will take care of her. She does not like the role allotted to

the women, in the scheme of things. Traditionally the women bears the burden of

bringing up her children against the background of standard set by men by male

children. This text expose women’s trivails. It also talks about the complex twist and

dilemmas, women find themselves in.

1.9 BIOGRAPHY OF BUCHI EMECHETA

Buchi Emecheta was born on August 14, 1944, in Lagos State Nigeria. She

was born to jeremy Nwabuchike and Alice Okwelekwo, Emecheta. Her Father a

19

Railway worker died when she was young, she attended Methodist Girls High

School,Yaba Lagos .At the age of 16 ,she got married and had a child.

At 19 Emecheta followed her husband to London, where he was a student.

Her writing career which she started, got her husband Sylvester Onwordi upset, that

he burnt her first novel. She however chooses her career, over her husband, thereby

divorcing him after six years of Marriage. She was appointed a senior research fellow

in department of English and Literature studies, in University of Calabar Nigeria. In

1980 on her arrival to Nigeria; she was given an award of the best black writer in

Britain in 1978.

She has written many novels Plays and Children books, they include .The

Bride Price (1976), which was her first published Novel. She also wrote The Ditch

(1972), Second Class Citizen (1974),The Slave Girl (1977),The Joys of Motherhood

(1979) and so on.All her novel depict that Emecheta is a Nigerian Feminist Writer,

that portrays the virtue of women.

Her work also reflects the Three Major places, She has lived in her life i.e

Lagos, England (London) and Ibuza. Ibuza is a little Igbo town where strict Igbo

customs abound with keen regard to the place and position of the women in the home

and in the society at large. It is a community where women in the midst of men, keep

their mouth shut.

20

Her themes of child Slavery, Motherhood, Female independence and Freedom

through Education has won her considerable critical acclaim and honourary awards,

including an order of the British Empire in 2005.

21

END NOTES

PRIMARY SOURCE:

Buchi Emecheta, 1979. The Joys of Motherhood: Heinemann Educational

Books (Nigeria) Ltd: Ibadan.

SECONDARY SOURCE

Banks Oliver, 1986. Becoming a feminist: The Second Origin of First Wave

Feminism. Great Britain: Wheat Sheaf Books, Ltd.

Duile Patricia Alaba,2002:Feminism in African Literature, A Case Study of

Mariam Baa’s So Long a letter and Zaynab Alkali’s The Stillborn.

Oyebiyi Oyebanji Isreal, 2008. The Feminist Perspective in Flora Nwapa’s

Efuru.

Vladimir Lenin, 1977. “Women in the Society” in The Women Question.New

York International Publishers.p.94.

INTERNET SOURCE

Benecia L. Williams 1997.Biography of Buchi Emecheta http:/www.English

memory.ed.

22

CHAPTER TWO

2.0 A REVIEW OF FEMINIST THEORY

Feminist theory emerged from feminist movement and include general

theories and theories and about the inequality and in some case, about the social

construction of sex and gender in a variety of discipline.

The origin of Feminism started from the western world where women started

advocating for their rights and survival. This promoted a lot of Female writers across

the continent to base their writings on issues pertaining to the rights of women in the

society. Feminism began in the Europe in the late 18 th century during the struggle for

women’s right.

The concept and movement of Feminism has been defined by many Scholars,

critics and philosophers. Here is some definitions of feminist. Foss et al (1995:2)

opines that Feminism is

The process of eliminating the oppression of all the people

Who have been marginalized by the dominant culture. A c

Voice grain to the individual marginalized and devalued

By the dominant culture and this provided a more histo-

ric understanding of the.

23

Joseph (2003:161) believes Feminism as

A world ideological and political movement directed at

Changing the existing power relations between Men and

Women in a patriarchal society.

Juliet Mitchell (1988:426) on her own contribution has this to say:

…study of women as writers and its subjects are the hi

story, styles, themes, genres and structures of writing b

women, the tractorny of female creativity…

We can deduce from the extract that Mitchell is concern about Female

imagination creativity. She tries to pose another trend in Feminism. Her own ideal is

based on the fact that Feminism deals with female creativity. Their ability to

contribute their quotas to literature and not leave the field of Literature to the male to

dominate.

Feminism is defined in the Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary (1962) as

“The movement for recognition of women’s right, legally and politically equal to

those possessed by Men”.

24

It can also be defined as the advocation of Women to dispute gender

discrimination and unequal rivalry among the men, which tailored towards the

survival of women in the society. It is an ideology that lays emphasis on the rights of

women in the society. It is an ideology that lays emphasis on the rights of women in

the society, which cuts across the political, social and Economic aspect of the society.

Feminism in general can be referred to as the movement aimed at establishing

and defending equal political opportunities for women. Its concept overlaps with

those of women’s rights. Some people argue that gender, like sex is constructions that

harm all people. Feminism thus seeks to liberate men as well as women Feminists

persons of either sex.

Feminism started to gain full ground in African Literature in the early

1960s.African female and Feminist intellectuals had written and published their

writing as early as the late nineteenth Century as in the Case of Sierra Leonean poet

and memoirist Adelaide Smith, Casely Hayford and the noted South African activist

and Novelist, Olive Schreiner. From the late Twentieths century there has been a

tremendous increase in the publication of Scholarly work on Africanist post colonial

and feminist theory.

The African Feminist writer wrote to redeem the disparaged image of African

women by giving them significant roles in their works as opposed to the idea of

women’s role for raising Children and serving her Husband. Feminist writers such as

25

Zaynab Alkali, Flora Nwapa, Ama Atta and Buchi Emecheta based their writings on

the plights of women in the hands of Men in the African society .These African

Feminist writers wrote about women; their writings opposed the notion that a woman

is only relevant in the home.

In the African context, Feminism with its Euro-American influence and its

radical connotation is a word most African women shy away from.

Chikwenye.o.Ogunyemi, a critic says that:

As an ideology, Feminism smacks of Rebelliousness

Fearlessness, Political awareness of Sexism and an

Unpardonable drive for equality and equity betw-

een the sexes.

Due to such elements in Feminism and perhaps to conform to traditional

expectation of her, the black African woman sees and perceives Feminism in a

different way. The Revelation from one study of the different literary critics has one

focus. Common to them is the fact that they are still struggling to find a way of

rescuing Feminity from inferiority. This they do from different perspective, therefore

presenting different approaches to the study of Feminist literature.

26

Contemporary African literature criticism is a product of Africans contact

with the west. Nigerian Feminist writers have been greatly influenced by the

ideologies of their Fore runners in the western world. Alice Walker in her book In

Search of our Mothers Garden (1983) broadens the terrain of black literature by

discovering how contemporary themes from slave and auto biographical narratives.

She locates auto biographies of them. She refers to them as being rich and important

sources in broadening the scope of black literature. According to her the act of

bringing out the past for recreation of the present is quite fulfilling and paramount to

survival.

In Nigerian, Feminist writers took off in 1960s in response to feminist

consciousness. Western Feminism can be described as a tool of imperialism, which is

aligned with western ideologies and analytic categories that are embedded in

Fashionable discourses from Marxism and Structuralism to deconstruction and Post

Modernism. On the other hand Feminism in African implies something from African

Culture.

The works of Feminist critics such as Theodora Ezeigbo, Elizabeth Oginni,

Chikwenye Okojo Ogunyemi, Omolara Ogundipe have greatly helped in the style and

form of Feminist writings in Nigeria.

27

Feminist literary criticism has always included its self understanding a strong

component of the advocacy of cultural nationalism, because African feminist theory

was strongly determined by the politic of independence movements.

One of such manifestation of this tendency is the popularity among many

feminist critics of the term ‘’Womanism’’. It was originally coined in 1967, in the

African American literary and cultural context by Alice Walker. Womanism has

become a productive term for Africanist feminist theory. Walker includes a part of

terms secondary definition committed to survival and wholeness of entire people,

male and female. Not a separatist except periodically for health (1964: San Diego).

Womanist theology is critical reflection upon black woman’s place in the world that

God has created and takes seriously black women experience as human beings who

are made in the image of God. The categories of life which black women deal with

daily that is race, womanhood and political economy are intricately woven into the

religious space that African American women occupy. Therefore the harmful and

empowering dimensions of the institutional church, culture and society impact the

social construction of black womanhood. Womanist theology affirms and critiques

the positive and negative attributes of the church: The African American community

and the larger society.

In feminism and Womanism: A Historical Approach” Elizabeth Oginni (1996)

opines that the ideology of feminism had its origin in the west stating how it came

28

about as a struggle for equality and how it was promoted by the literary world. This

posture of feminism was therefore adopted. According to her; “The extreme radical

posture that it has acquired in the west has been treated with moderation which the

peculiar African Social climates call for”.

To her, the African woman has come a long way, having moved from

backwardness towards self realization. As a result her voice is being heard now more

prominently in the society. Hence, she is not seeking to be a hardliner or an extreme

feminist, instead she seeks a womanism which gives place to both the woman and the

man to function harmoniously as one in building positive society.

There

are

however

different

types

of

feminism

they

include

Radical

feminisim, Liberal feminism, Analytic feminism, Humanist feminism and Lesbian

feminism.

Radical feminism on root of male domination and aims at overthrowing

patriarchy. Radical feminists in western society asserts that their society is a

patriarchy that primarily oppresses women. Radical feminist seek to abolish this

patriarchy. Radical feminism posits the theory that due to the patriarchy, no men have

come to

be viewed as the ‘’other’’ to

the

male norm and as such have been

systematically oppressed and marginalized. They also believe that the way to deal

with patriarchy and oppression of all kinds is to address the underlying causes of

these problems through revolution. Early Radical feminism arising within second

29

wave feminism in the 1960’s, typically viewed patriarchy as a trans historical

phenomenism prior to or deeper than other sources of oppression, not only the oldest

and most universal form of domination but primary form and the model for all others.

They challenge male control and encourage female expression.

Liberal feminism aims at achieving equal, political and social rights for

women. Liberal feminism is a form of feminism that argues that equality for women

can be achieved through legal means and social reform and that man as a group needs

to be challenged. Liberal feminism conceived of politics in individualistic terms and

looks to reform present liberal practices in the society rather than advocating for a

wholesale revolutionary change feminist writers associated with this tradition are

amongst others Mary Wollstones, John Stuart Mill and second Wave feminist Betly

Frieden.

The most important goal in Liberal ferminism is equality of opportunity for

women.Analytic

feminism

insist

on

seeing

how

sexism,

andocentric

and

the

domination of the possession of philosophy men distort philosophers pursuit of truth

and objectivity. Analytic feminism holds that the best way to counter sexism and

androcentism is through forming a clear consumption of and pursuing truth, logical

consistency, objectivity, nationality, justice and the good while recognizing that these

notions have often been perverted by androcentrism throughout the history of

philosophy.

30

Humanist ideology argue for a concept of self which is unified despite the

fragmentation resulting from the cultural violence of oppression. Humanist feminism

is a new understanding of women’s capabilities within a broader, more inclusive

redefinition of humanity. It involved granting women in European history so often

disqualified and dispossessed in matters of material inheritance. Some share at least

of the spiritual heritage of the past. Women’s claim to humanist culture long predated

their claim to civil and political rights but the latter cannot be understood without the

former. The humanist feminism of the early modern period paved the way for the first

wave of the women’s movement of the 19 th century, which asked for women the

rights to education, property and citizenship, and in spite of the anti-humanist stance

of some post modern feminist critics, there is plenty evidence that also the “second

wave” of the women’s movement in the 1970s started with an understanding of

feminism strongly associated with humanist values.

Lesbian feminism believe that identified woman committed together for

political, sexual and economic support is an approach to life for women which is a

better alternative than the male female relations. They encourage homosexuality

against heterosexuality.

The tenets of feminism according to a scholar Jaya Wardene are centered on

agitation of Issues concerning women, awareness of women’s oppression, and

31

exploitation within the family, at work and in the society and a conscious action by

women and a few men to change the situation.

From all perceptions, views assertions and definitions the few elements of

feminism are as follows;

Negative constraints of gender based expectation placed on the women.

Gender inequality and female suppression in the African artistic landscape as

portrayed as African male writers.

The cruel pre supposition of women as essential and men as essential.

The denegation of women through beliefs and mythical representation.

A dominant traditional belief as the root cause against feminism.

The desire for equality in all realms of life for all men and women.

The deep thirst that seeks self-fulfillment for women in all realms of life.

These and many more can be fished out and contained in the feministic

theory.

Feminist movement has effected change in African society including women’s

suffrage in education, in gender neutrality in English, job pay more nearly to men, the

right to initiate divorce proceeding, the reproductive right of women to make

individual decisions on pregnancy and the right to enter into contracts and own

property.

32

From my point of view feminism has helped in protecting women and girls

from domestic violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault. It emphasizes the

ground of women’s rights rather than a man’s traditional interest in the families.

Safety for reproductive process. Feminism has also helped to fight for women’s right

such as in contract, property and voting. It promotes women’s rights to bodily

integrity and autonomy and reproductive rights.

Feminist writers in Nigeria have used their works in economic, to advocate for

work place rights, including equal pay and opportunities for careers to start business,

maternity leave and against order form of gender specific discrimination against

women. These feminist writers have helped in achieving some protections and

societal changes through sharing experiences, developing theory and campaigning for

rights.

The central idea of Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood is feminism.

She pursues the cause of women in her text by featuring and ideas dominant in her

works.

Buchi Emecheta, among others is an example of a prominent Nigerian female

feminist writer. Who has contributed to the progress and spread of feminism in

African

literature.

Emecheta

through

her

novel The

Joys

of

Motherhood

has

condemned the African culture that gives impetus to man and preaches the equality of

33

both sexes. Through her writing she has succeeded in delving deep into the female

mind and displaying the female personality.

Buchi Emecheta has employed the use of simple language in her novel The

Joys of Motherhood. This is done in order to depict the feminist philosophy. There is

however a lot of code switching and code mixing especially through the use of

“pidgin English”, a mixed and simpler kind of English spoken amongst the local

centres of Nigeria e.g. page93…. “No, no, sah! No police, sah! Na work me de find!.

The language use suits the subject matter therein. She uses plain and simple language

to report the event in the text. In place where words were difficult, the author

interfered in order to explain the in depth meaning. There is a communication barrier

between the English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The language barrier shows a

destitution in each others race and class, due to this fact, there was the use of mixed

proverbs from different cultures and tribes e.g. page 198: “… people come and people

go …” this is an Igbo cultural proverb. Italization is also used to represent the inner

representations of Nnu Egos thoughts e.g. page 177. These make the readers to

sympathize with the protagonist Nnu Ego.

The strength of feminism,

lies in the fact that they understand gender

difference, gender politics, and sexuality. Providing a critique of those social and

political power relations. Feminist theory focuses on the promotion of women’s

rights. Themes explained in feminist theory include:

34

Discrimination

Stereotyping

Objectification (especially sexual objectification)

Oppression

Patriarchy

Feminist

theory

is

encompasses work in history

academically

concentrated

in

women’s

studies

and

anthropology, sociology, economics, literary criticism

(supported

by

women’s

literature,

music,

geography and other discipline.

film

and

other

media)

art,

history,

Elaine showaller modellea the development of feminist theory, although Toril

moi, criticize this model seeing it as essentialistic, deterministic and failing to account

for the situation of women outside the west.

In conclusion, feminism has been traced from its origin, which is the Western

Europe and how it finally gained full ground in African literature has been reviewed.

The views of feminist writers have been reviewed and Buchi Emechetas The Joys of

Motherhood, with focus on the survival of the women character.

35

END NOTES

Foss et al, 1999. Feminist Rhetorical Theories: sage Publication, U.S.A.

Joseph Aduni, 2003. Gender theory and Ideology: A study of Zaymab Alkalis

Stillborn: In Obafemi Olu and

Bodunde Charles: eds. Criticism.

Theory and

ideology

in

African

English, University of Ilorin.

literature Ilorin:

Department

of

Mitchel Juliet, 1998. Feminity Narrative and Psychoanalysis in Lodge David

ed. Modern Criticism and theory New York: Longman. Pp. 425 – 430.

Horby, 1962 Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. London: Oxford

University Press. P. 315.

Chikwenye Okojo, 1998. Women and Nigerian Literature in Yemi

Ogunbiyi,(ed), Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: A Guardian Books

(lagos), p.65.

Elizabeth Ogini, 1996. Feminism and Womanism: A Historical Approach in

Aduke Adebayo, (ed), p.14.

36

CHAPTER THREE

3.1 THE FEMINIST ROLE IN PLOT CONSTRUCTION OF

EMECHETA’S THE JOYS OF MOTHERHOOD

The Joys of Motherhood treats the socio-cultural and economic challenges

that Nigerian women faces in an urban setting. It exposes the obstacle a woman goes

through when she is unable to bear children in Marriage.

The Joys of Motherhood is the story of a young Ibo woman who dreams of

living a traditional life as a mother of many children. Instead she spends her life in

Lagos, Nigeria, watching as traditional values are eroded and destroyed by western

influence. The hope she puts in having many children turns out to be misplaced and

her entire life is simply a struggle for survival with no reward in old age.

The story is based on the background of the second world war. During the

period of early colonization period in Nigeria. Published in 1979, The Joys of

Motherhood is Buchi Emecheta's fifth novel and one of her most popular. It is the

third book Emecheta wrote about the role of women in Nigerian society.

Nnu

Ego

the

protagonist

stumbles

across

the

Yaba

compound,

almost

delusional with grief. She makes her way to the water front, heading to cater bridge,

intent on throwing herself off. The action shifts to twenty-five years previous to this

moment in the village of ogboli, in the Ibuja homeland, Agbadi, the esteemed local

37

chief, is enamored by the one woman he cannot possess, the beautiful and strong

willed Ona. During a hunting trip, Agbadi is gored by an injured elephant and not

expected to live long. Ona slowly nurses him back to health. As he heals, he

humiliates her in the compound by loudly forcing his sexual attentions on her. She

becomes pregnant as a result of this union. Nnu Ego is born, and a medicine man

concludes that her Chi or guiding spirit is a slave girl, who was forcibly killed with

one of Agbadi’s wives. Within the year, Ona dies during childbirth.

Sixteen years later Nnu Ego is of marrying age. She is first betrothed to

Amatokwu. When she does not become pregnant, relations cool between her and

Amatokwu, and she is soon moved to another hut to make room for a new wife. Nnu

Ego is relegated to working in the fields and taking care of the new wife’s infant son.

When Amatokwu catches Nnu Ego breast feeding the hungry child, he beats her. Nnu

Ego returns to her father’s house, to rest and recover and the marriage ties are

severed.

Dedicated to finding his daughter a better match, Agbadi arranges a marriage

between Nnu Ego and Nnaife, who lives in Faraway Lagos. Nnaife’s older brother,

escorts Nnu Ego to the city.

Nnaife and Nnu Ego live in the Yaba compound, where Nnaife does laundry

for the meers, a British couple. Happy in her marriage, Nnu Ego becomes pregnant

and gives birth to a son. Ngozi, she also starts her own business off selling cigarettes

38

and matches beside the road. One morning, she discovers Ngozi dead in their one

room home. Distraught and devoid of hope, she rushes to the waterfront to throw

herself off cater bridge, Nwakusor, an Ibo man coming off his shift at work, prevents

her with the help of the crowd that has gathered.

Recovering from Ngozi’s death is a slow and painful process. Eventually, Nnu

Ego becomes pregnant again and gives birth to Oshia. She decides to focus solely on

raising the child instead of making extra income at her market stall. But economic

pressures set in when the meers return to England and Nnaife is suddenly out of job.

Nnu Ego resumes her local trade in cigarettes Nnaife eventually secures a position

that takes him far from home, working for a group of Englishmen. While he is away

British soldiers enter the abandoned compound and tell Nnu Ego, that she and Oshia

must vacate the premises. Nnu Ego takes a rented room in another part of town,

where she gives birth to another son, Adim.Left on their own; the family slowly

succumbs to Machutrition. Neigbours step in to help. Nnu Ego returns from her

search for more contraband cigarettes to find that her husband has returned, flush with

money, Nnu Ego secures a permanent stall in the market place and pressures Nnaife

to find his next job.

One evening Nnaifa’s friends arrive with the news that his brother has died in

Ibuza, Nnaife inherited his brother’s wife, he came to live with them in Lagos. Adaku

arrives with her daughter setting off tensions and rivaling between the two women,

39

Nnaife starts a new job of cutting grass for the railroad. Nnu Ego and Adaku gets

pregnant around the same time, Nnu Ego gives birth to twins’ girls, while Adaku’s

son dies shortly after he is born. Feeling they are not being given enough money to

support the household, the women go on strike. Nnu Ego’s firm resolve eventually

wavers and she cooks a large conciliatory meal, but Nnaife does not come home to

enjoy it, as he has been forced to join the army and is shipped off to Indian and then

Burma to fight in World War II.

With Nnaife away and his pay partially secure in a savings account, Nnu Ego,

again pregnant, takes her family to Ibuja and to the deathbed of her father. After his

two funerals, Nnu Ego is unwilling to return to Lagos. However, Adankwo, the eldest

wife of Nnaifes’ older brother urges her to return to the city to keep an eye on Adako.

Nnu Ego returns to find to Nnaife had been home for a brief visit and had left an eye

on Adaku. Nnu Ego returns to find that Nnaife had been home for a brief visit and

had left some money for her that she failed to receive. Relationship between Nnu Ego

and Adako grow increasingly strained culminating in Nnu Ego’s rude and brusque

treatment of one of Adako’s visiting cousins. When Nnaifes friend step in to resolve

conflict, Adako decides that she and her daughters will move out on their own.

Impoverished once again, Nnu Ego spends the last of her savings before learning she

had not been receiving her husband’s yearly stipends, due to her institutional error.

Nnaife returns and spend most of his windfall. Though Nnu Ego is pregnant again,

Nnaife decides to return to Ibuja, where he impregnates Adankwo and returns with a

40

teenage bride, Okpo, Nnu Ego gives birth to twins girls. The family moves to a mud

house in another part of town. First Oshia and then Adim announce their intentions of

furthering their educations. When Oshia tells Nnaife he has won a scholarship to

study in the United States, Nanife denounces him for his dereliction of his filial duty.

Taiwo’s marriage is arranged to an Ibo clerk, but Kehinde runs away to marry a

Yoruba. Hearing the news, Nnaife flies into a rage and attempts to murder Kehinde’s

father-in-law with his cutlass. Nnaife is put in jail, tried and sentenced to five years, a

stint that is reduced provided he return to Ibuja after his release. Nnu Ego has also

returned to her homeland, where she died several years later, alone by the roadside.

Oshia returns to honour Nnu Ego with a costly funeral, befitting her sacrifices as a

mother.

3.2 THE FAMILY SETTING OF EMECHETA’S THE JOYS OF

MOTHERHOOD

The family setting of Emecheta’s Joys of Motherhood contrast two regions of

Nigeria. On one hand, the rural Ibuja is seen where traditional values and lifestyles

are still maintained. Ibuja is contrasted with the urban Lagos, where traditional values

are giving way under the pressure of western education, capitalism and the mixture of

various cultures (Hausa, Yourba, Ibo and European). In rural Ibuza, families know

each other for generations and marriages are arranged by fathers. Men pay bride

prices and take multiple wives creating a compound with many huts for their many

41

wives. They farm the land, hunt animals and worship their ancestors. Women know

their social status as senior or junior wives. The number of male children a woman

bears is also important in determining her status and respect as wife. The wives in

polygamous union work together, not exactly as one big, happy, and family but

through an ordered system understood by all. Education consist of boys learning how

to farm male crops (the yam) and hunt from their fathers and girls learning how to

farm female crops as well as how to make desirable things for barter and trade. In

Lagos some of these values still perish, but they’re distorted. Men work as servants

for European families and their wives question their manhood. Many men turn to

Christianity in order to

secure or maintain employment. So polygamy is less

prominent, although it still exists. Children are educated to read, write and do math in

European style schools to read, and this process alienates them from their illiterate

parents. Often children absorb European values and fail to adhere to their duties as

traditional Ibo children. Women create business, at times similar to ones they might

have in ibuza, but husbands demand a large share in those profits. Urban life offers

women the possibility of more independence if they are single.

By contrasting these two regions Emecheta drives home her point: poverty,

patriarchy and traditional culture oppress women, but traditional culture offers safe

guards entirely lacking in urban westernized setting.

42

3.3

THEME AND FEMINIST TECHNIQUE IN CHARACTERISATION

(a) NNU EGO

Nnu Ego starts out as an innocent, somewhat naïve girl filled with hope and

anticipation of the joys and rewards motherhood will bring her. Unlike her

mother, Ona, Nnu Ego is not a radical or antagonistic presence, and she

dutifully accepts and fulfills her role as a woman in Ibo society. Her initial

quest is for justification and validation. When she cannot conceive with her

first husband, Amatokwu, the marriage is dissolved and she is filled with

apprehension and shame. When her second marriage, to Nnaife, produces a

highly prized son, she realizes the happiness denied her, only to have her joy

shattered, when Ngozi dies in infancy. The death of the child becomes, by

extension, the death of Nnu Ego. She sees no reason to live, if she cannot

succeed in the single role of bearing and rearing children. Slowly she comes to

new realizations about what is truly important to her, and those epiphanies

force her to re-examine her role and function as a woman in Ibo society.

Though she is distraught over the death of Ngozi, Nnu Ego feels guilty relief

when, later a daughter arrives stillborn. She begins to examine her essential worth as

a

woman.

Although

she

becomes

a

vital

economic

force

in

the

community,

essentially, setting uo her own business to help her family service, she is seen as

merely an economic unit, a machine for producing and rearing male heirs. Nnu Ego

43

comes to believe that aspirations of being solely a mother and provider are too

limiting and dispiriting. Rather than looking forward to a guilt life where she will be

well provided for by her sons and daughters. She is a victim of her times, caught at a

critical turning point in West-African social history. Rather than serving the collective

unit of the family, her children pursue their own courses and seek to place their own

self-fulfillment and individual destinies before their family responsibilities. Nnu

Ego’s hope and joy become disillusionment as she dies, alone at the side of the road,

an ambivalent figure with little to show for her years of selflessness and sacrifice.

(b)

NNAIFE

Nnaife, Nnu Ego’s husband is the chief male presence in the Joys of

motherhood, the counterpart and mirror reflection of his wife. The two stand

on opposite sides of a similar conflict. While Nnu Ego must reconcile her own

disillusionment with motherhood, Nnaife faces his own struggles in the wake

of evolving tradition and the slow dissolve of their family structure. Nnu Ego

calls Nnaife masculinity into question from the early days of their marriage.

Nnaife is filled with pride at the responsibilities he has as a launderer in the

meers household, a role no Ibo man would have filled in previous generations.

Nnaife is forced to compromise in a world where capitalism reigns and where

power is in the hands of white colonialists. Still despite changing with the

times. Nnaife retains his traditional notions of his role as father, husband and

44

man. But in his modern urban context, he is viewed more as a functionary, a

mere figurehead of a family that is mostly supported and held together by the

efforts if Nnu Ego.

Nnaife is a passive, ineffective figure whose lack of ambition or connections

does little to further the livelihood of his family. He allows others to control or

intercede for him, all the while believing he us a figure of power, strength and action.

As traditions and times change, they render Nnaife increasingly ineffective in his role

as a male authority figure. In the end, he simply plays acts at the part if the blustering

patriarch rather than truly embodying or living up to the duties he is expected to

fulfill. He emerges as an emasculated figure and is unmasked as a poor provider and a

drunk, the equivalent of a deadbeat dad. As Nnaife’s traditional male identify grows

weaker and more threatened, he descends deeper into alcoholism and an aloof, willful

detachment, both of which serve as safeguards and antidotes to reality. In a final act

of desperation, he threatens to kill his own daughter and her new father-in-law. In is

skewed vision the world, individual lives and the happiness of his daughter are

secondary to more abstract notions of family reputations, honour and tradition. It is

subsequent imprisonment serves as symbolic punishment for a man who was grown

so out of step with the world around him.

45

(c)

OSHIA

Oshia, Nnu Ego’s oldest surviving son, is an emblem of the new order, the

next generation that world after the nature of modern Nigerian society.

However, he is not a radical figure, out of his formative years, he is the ideal

and dutiful son, fulfilling the high hopes Nnu Ego cherishes of the honour and

comfort he will eventually bestow on her. Although he and his brother, Adim,

obediently tend the family stall in the market place, they later lament the time

they were forced to sacrifice from pursing their studies. Caught between two

worlds, Oshia must live up to the expectations his parents place on him while

satisfying his own desire to better himself through education.

Oshia’s ambition and intelligence eventually overpower his obligations to the

traditional order. He represents a general shift in Nigerian society as new influences

and new options became available to Ibos such as Nnaife. Oshia chooses his own

individual destiny over his responsibilities to the collective, which makes him a

failure and a disappointment to his parents. Ironically, while Oshia works as a

research scientist and wins a scholarship to study in the United States, his academic

achievements do not make up for his failure to remain in Lagos to support his family.

Still, Oshia never completely turns his back on his origins. He honours his culture and

pays homage to the sacrifices his mother made by funding an elaborate funeral

service for her.

46

The feminist tone used by the narrator is mostly detached, attempting to

simply report the characters thoughts and actions and not trying to pass judgments on

the preceding. At times, however, sympathy for the plight of Nnu Ego infuses the

narrative tone.

Buchi Emecheta’s writing style can be contrasted with another prominent

Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe. Achebe’s sentences are soaked with idioms and rich

cultural details, while Emecheta’s style is simpler, letting the plot and characters

inform the reactors about cultural information and the characters feelings. Here is an

example;

“… I shall be going to the Island this morning. The ship arrived last night and

I want to find out if I can get some cartoons of cigarettes on the black market

from the sailors.”

Nnaife was wide awake now, staring at the ceiling of their one room home.

This aspect of his wife’s trade was illegal and could land her in trouble if she

were caught. But what was he to do? Ask he to stay?” pp. 69 – 70.

Emecheta is direct with her choice of words. We learn that Lagos has a port

culture and a thriving black market in which woman participate. We see that Nnaife is

worried about his wife but doesn’t know what to do about it. Yet these sentences are

remarkably simple in the way they’re constructed.

47

The major Thematic pre-occupation is women and femininity. In the Joys of

motherhood we learn very quickly that a woman’s role in traditional Ibo society is to

produce children, and in particular to produce male children. Her value as a woman is

dependent on her fertility. If she is infertile, she is a “failed” woman. If she has only

girl she isn’t a failed woman, but she lacks honour. Nnu Ego has absorbed these

values and her life’s greatest wish is to be an honoured woman. She has child after

child, but ultimately, realizes that the rules of the game were made by men and that

her children have become a chain around her neck.

Another theme is the influences of colonialism. The Owulum family and their

experiences are dramatically influenced by the forces of the colonialist world in

which

they

live.Emecheta

portrays

colonialism

ambiguously

in

The

Joys

of

motherhood. It forces native populations to adopt and adhere to systems and beliefs

foreign to their own. Capitalism Christianity and European notions of education and

conduct all effectively alter and threaten traditional Nigerian culture. The effect

eventually touch all levels of society eroding tradition and trickling down to harm

both families and individuals. Without the changes colonialism and its practitioners

ushered in, Nnu Ego’s joy as a mother and the cohesive and interdependent family

she long desired could have remained and uncompromised. The tragedy of Nnu Ego’s

story is that she cannot recognize and embrace change and that these changes

themselves, embraced or not, are not entirely positive forces.

48

The Ambiguous Rewards of Motherhood is another theme in The Joys of

Motherhood. Motherhood is the source if not only Nnu Ego’s greatest joys but also

her greatest defeats. As a girl, she is taught that her sole functions are to bear and

raise children. Her initial struggle to conceive and her uttter self-defeat when she is

unable to exemplify how strongly she believes in this uniquely female destiny that her

culture has prescribed. The idea of motherhood informs her fantasies and her dreams.

Yet when Nnu Ego actually becomes a mother and struggles to raise her growing

family, her idealism begins to change. Nnu Ego ultimately regrets having so many

children and investing so much of her life in them since they seem to have little

concern for her well-being. She forces herself to accept a vision of motherhood that

has been radically modified from the ideas she once cherished. Instead of an

honoured and revered figure, Nnu Ego becomes a sacrificial lamb, one who gave to

her family selflessly while receiving little, if not nothing, in return.

The Point of View used in The Joys of Motherhood is the third person, Point

of view. The narrator speaks in the third person, focusing mostly on the actions and

experiences of Nnu Ego but also referencing the many characters that surround her.

The narrator’s descriptions are at times objective, told from the position of an outsider

or observer of this world. Throughout however, the narration becomes omniscient,

revealing and analyzing the private thoughts and motives of various characters.

49

While the Title of the novel promises a warm portrait of the Joys and rewards

of Motherhood, the novel itself charts a much different course for Nnu Ego and many

of the other women who make up her Ibo community. Rather than a self-fulfilling and

life-giving role, motherhood and responsibilities it creates a form of enslavement. For

Nnu Ego her life, hope and identify depend on her ability to bear children. In the eyes

of society, she has no other primary function and no other means of achieving rank

and respect.

Colonialism and the modern world, with its capitalist based labour system,

leave their mark on the novel’s male characters and help erode the traditional role of

men in twentieth-century West-African Society. While the men still see themselves as

the heads of their households, the women view their husband’s evolving economic

roles differently. The need to work, specifically in the service of white colonialists,

has compromised the men as figures of authority and drained them of their once-

questioned power as the dominant member of the family.

As an Ibo woman, Nnu Ego can pursue only one life path: she must produce

children, preferably boys. As Nnu Ego gets older and becomes more deeply involved

in her role as a mother she sees more clearly the restriction of this set course Nnu Ego

feels she is the society scapegoat, because when the children bring honour or fulfill

their duty to their family, they are a reflection on their gather. When they tarnish or

50

shame the family name or fail to live up their responsibility to their parents, the

failing is placed squarely on the mothers shoulders.

Nnu Ego is expected to arm her sons for the future, at the expense of her

daughters. Society view the girls as having little worth, valuable only for the bride

price they will one day fetch when their marriage is arranged. Without the context of

marriage and the family an Ibo woman has neither an identity nor an inherent worth

beyond the production of the next generation. However, in the new economic and

social order of Lagos, both men and women’s roles change;

“… God, when will you create a woman who will be fulfilled in herself, a full

human being, not anybody’s appendage? She prayed desperately”.

Nnu Ego poses this question in her prayer in chapter fifteen. She anticipates

the day when individual woman will be of prime importance, rather than simply being

vehicles that serve and aid the collective at the expense of the self. Nnu Ego views the

traditional role of Ibo women as amounting to a qualified or partial life. Rather than

lives of sacrifice, Nnu Ego hopes women can achieve lives of satisfaction and self-

fulfillment.

Despite the pains and hard ship Nnu Ego went through in bringing up her

children, the end product of her children’s success complimented all the sufferings.

Her strong will made her to survive at the end. But there is a sudden change of

51

fortune when she appears deserted by many people including her sons in America and

Canada. She dies a forsaken and lonely woman. One then imagines that should such a

woman who has taken so much pain to raise her children die a shameful death as she

was found dead at the road side. But she was however given;

… The nosiest and most costly second burial Ibuza has ever seen, and a shrine

was in her name, so that her grand children could appeal to her should they be

barren. Pg. 224.

Nnu Ego is caught between worlds and between diverse, often warning

traditions change and resolution come only at the expense of her happiness and her

illusions. The Joys of Motherhood emphasis the need for change and this is attributed

to many factors: differences between town and country, between Lagos and Ibuza

increasing was termination and seculansation.

In his traditional setting a man in Ibuza will respect the customs and love his

people along to his home made gods, obey his elders in society and accept their word

as the law he will satisfy with the little he earns from his farm, enjoy whatever

pastimes and pleasures his localily provides and generally live accounted polygamous

existence. But when he leaves Ibuza and finds himself in the monetary economy of

Lagos, he behaves differently and tries to make ends meet and makes light of his

traditional custom. Nnaife was made to imbibe with the western religion by going to

church, so as to keep his job with white boss.

52

Much changed at the end of the work. Nnaife is sent to jail for attempt to use

brute force in a situation which calls for discussion and reason. Ibuza of Nnaife

childhood has changed a lot as he discover when he returns there for good.Nnu Ego’s

tragic end result partly from the fact, that she is not mentally prepared for the series of

changes which finally overwhelm her.

In conclusion The Joys of Motherhood is the source of not only Nnu Ego’s

greatest joys but also her greatest defeats. The idea of motherhood informs her

fantasies and her dreams. Emecheta has been able to use that survival of Nnu Ego in

her

novel, to depict the will of women to survive in any situation they find

themselves. She also lays emphasis on the need for change which is inevitable in a

human life.

53

PRIMARY SOURCE:

END NOTES

Buchi Emecheta, 1979. The Joys of Motherhood: Heinemann Educational Books

(Nigeria) Ltd: Ibadan.(All quotations and citations are from this edition).

SECONDARY SOURCE:

Ezeigbo A. Theodora, 1996. Gender Issue in Nigeria. A feminine perspective: Vista

Books Limited. Lagos.

54

CHAPTER FOUR

CONCLUSION

Women constitute more than

half of the world’s population and

have

contributed significantly to the well being of the human race. In Nigeria women have

played roles as Mothers, Home makers, producer, social and political activists and

community leaders.

This research work has been able to examine how feminist ideology in

African literature has ascertained the need to give women room to display their given

talents and they have done this through writing. This work studies the movement of

women for emancipation in the male dominated society.

This research work has unveiled how women writing have corrected the

disparaged image of women in a male domineering society.

The

work

of

Buchi

Emecheta

provide

the

required

dimension,

to

the

intellectual understanding of the feminist ideology in Africa. Emecheta’s focus is on

the emancipation and freedom of women from the shackles of men in the society. The

desire to see the women as having the same right as male counterparts and also

possessing a strong will to survive and proffer solution to problems affecting their

societies is also part of the focus of Emecheta.

55

Emecheta in her own capacity has tried to create a socially and independent

heroine in her novels. In a bid to support motherhood she approached the matter in a

less aggressive stand, according to the portrayed event in The Joys of Motherhood.

She has been able to traced women constraints to that of her cultural belief. It can

therefore be said that feminism is not only among the educated women but also

among the rural and unlettered women.

There is no doubt that Nigerian women and women all over the world are

aware of their disadvantaged and want a change for the better and female writers are

in no small measure assisting to boost the image of women both politically, socially

and economically. Nigerian women have shown great interest in the struggle for

justice to correct the social ills that pervade our society today.

Conclusively, this research work will enhance the participation of women in

the struggle for change and uplift their virtue of good will, so as to avoid being

pushed to the lowest ebb in the society. It will also help in uplifting the status of

women in Africa for a better change.

56

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Banks Oliver, (1986). Becoming a Feminist: The Second Origin of First Wave

Feminism. Great Britain: Wheat Sheaf Books, Ltd.

Buchi, E. (1979). The joys of motherhood. Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria)

Ltd:Ibadan.

Chikwenye, O. (1998). Women and Nigerian literature. In Yemi Ogunbiyi,(ed),

Perspective on Nigerian literature: A Guardian Books :Lagos. p 65

Carole, B. (1986) “Introduction : feminist consciousness and the African literary

criticism” In (ed.) C. Davies and A. Caraves, Ngambika: studies of

women on African literature. Trinitron: African World Press.

Delman, R. (1986) “What is feminism?” Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Duile, P. (2002). Feminism in African literature, a case study of Mariam Baa’s so

long a letter and Zanjnab Alkali’s the stillborn.

Elizabeth, O. (1996) Feminism and womanism ; a historical approach in aduke

adebayo, (ed), p.14

57

Ezeigbo, A. (1996). Gender issues in Nigeria: a feminine perspective. Vista Books

Limited:Lagos.

Foss et al,(1999). Feminist Rhetorical theories. Sage Publication: USA.

Frank, k. (1987). “ Women without Men; the feminist novel in Africa” In (ed.)

London: Jmaes Curry.

Horby, (1962). Oxford advanced learners dictionary. Oxford University Press:

London.

Joseph, A. (2003). Gender theory and ideology: a study of Zaynab Alkali’s stillborn.

Department of English : University of Ilorin.

Mitchel, J. (1998). Feminity Narrative and Psychoanalysis In Lodge David(ed.)

Modern Criticism and theory. New York: Longman. Pp 425- 430.

Macean, I.( 1977) Women triumphant. London; Clarendon press.

Obbo, C. (1980). African women: their struggle for economic independence.

Hutchinson University: Africa.

Ojo-Ade, F. (1983). “Female writers, male critics” London : Heineman.

Oyebiyi O. (2008). The Feminist perspective in flora nwapa’s “Efuru”

58

Palmer, E. (1983)“The feminine point of view : Buchi Emecheta’s The joy of

motherhood” In J. Elder (ed) African literature today. Vol 13. London:

Heinemann.

Vladimir L. (1977) women in the society in the women question. New York:

International

Internet Source

Publishers. p94

Benecia L. (1997). Biography of Buchi Emecheta http:/www. Englishmemory.ed.

59