The Treatment of Patriarchy in Buchi Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood and Sefi Atta's Everything Good Will Come

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Oso, Olusola
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Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
While studies on the patriarchal order and the marginalization of women in male-authored African novels abound, not much has been done to examine together the works of female novelists of different generational and ideological orientations. This study therefore examines the treatment of patriarchy in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come. The study is grounded on feminist theory. Feminism is considered appropriate because it is aimed at empowering women in the society, and the novels under review expose how women are oppressed and marginalized in many African societies, and stress the need for the women to challenge the status quo with a view to liberating themselves from the oppressive African men. The research is essentially library-based and involves textual analysis. The study demonstrates how female African novelists have responded to the phallic nature of the African literature by empowering the female characters in their novels, and unabashedly exposing the patriarchal proclivity of the African men. The study shows how the two novelists give a fair representation of the historical backgrounds of their novels. One recurring feature of these novels is that the feminist zeal of the novelists sometimes beclouds their sense of judgement. The male characters in the novels are unfairly represented and bestialised. The import of this is that, given the proliferation of promising African female novelists in our present generation, there is the need for them to pursue their feminist goal vigorously but realistically.
The focus of the study is on the treatment of patriarchy in two widely acclaimed, female-authored African novels, Buchi Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood and Sefi Atta's Everything Good Will Come. Patriarchy is a social system in which power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favour men and withhold opportunities from women.Using feminist theory as framework, the study critically examines various instances of patriarchy in the two selected novels. The study establishes how pervasive and deeply entrenched patriarchy is in the Nigerian society.
Feminism , African literature , Patriarchy , Women oppression