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Discriminatory Culture against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

Discriminatory Culture against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus 

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This research work examines Discriminatory Culture against women in Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Buchi Emecheta’s The Joy of Motherhood. In view of the two selected novels, the study revealed that African Cultural practices discriminates the female folk and favour of their male counterparts. The study further reveals that the practices affect the female psychological and emotionally as seen in the two selected novels under investigation.

Chimamanda Adichie and Buchi Emecheta are on the notion that Africa society should reconstruct various practices like operation that patriarchal domination and self-discrimination that affect the women life span. Based on the findings, the study makes the following recommendations, there should be equal treatment between the male and female children in every household and men should also appreciate their wives effort rather than dominating and causing emotional trauma.



1.1     Background to the study

Feminism is a world wide ideological and political movement that agitates power related between men and women. It is a social movement that is concerned with societal inequality over male domination and the eradication of some cultural discrimination that affect women in African society.

Men and women should enjoy equal rights and women’s decision should be respected (64).

According to Buchi Emecheta, African cultural practices affect women negatively and make women inferior to men. She further posits that:

A woman can work and earn money to care for herself. For African’s culture discriminate women. A rise woman saved all her money for her children’s education (108).

All feminists use literature to explain the injustices done against women and the importance of female existence in the society. All the unjust treatment to woman and discrimination against women in African cultural practices.

According to Chambers dictionary, “Discrimination of an unjust treatment given to women, people or groups” (34).

Discrimination is a prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category and also actual behaviour toward members of another group.

According to Filene, proposes that:

A woman who shots and coil her husband would be accused of homicide but the shooting of a wife by a husband could be termed a passion shooting often women prostitutes were prosecuted although their male customers were allowed to go free (194).

Considering the above discussion in this research work, it is clear that women are to tuned, most especially through many cultural or traditional practices that are oppressive to women. This brings to us these traditions that discriminate against woman.

According to Lewis:

African cultural practices have been weapons for enforcing women’s obedience. Culture has been seen as an edifice of unchanging institution, traditions and beliefs as well as identities which affect women (107).

Culture blames women who don’t bear children especially male children; they are beaten and accused of witchcraft, Buchi Emecheta posit:

“I pity your idea Amatikwu almost beat you to death because you did not bear him a son. Women are also treated as less important as they can be replaced at any time like new clothes and shoes without quarries” (49).

From the above assertion, women had always suffered or had been adversely affected whenever their husbands betrayed them to marry another woman.

In the old African days, women resolved to “Juju”, black medicine to eliminate each other from their husband’s home, leaving out their men who were the main cause of polygamy. Women fought and still fight against polygamy because it hurts their bride and above all, betrayed the trust which they had in their men. A woman in her right sense will never want another woman to be her husband’s other woman no matter what. Therefore, feminism strongly speaks and advocates women’s independence and freedom.

Discriminatory Culture against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

1.2     Statement of the problem

Culturally, the female folks are known to be less important in making laws, training children, speaking their minds, females are always very silent, man are the ones who have the right to make laws which women must obey even in family meetings.

It is also discovered that, mothers do not have a say over her child husband’s house due to male domination in the family. This assertion can be seen when a father beats the children, yet the mother cannot do anything. In the same way, female children traditionally, one not recognized; they are seen as asserts through which they send the male children to school, while females are not always sent to school.

1.3     Purpose of the study

The main thrust of this research work is to critically examine discriminatory culture against women in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joy of Motherhood and Chimamanda Ngugi Adicie’s Purple Hibiscus. The study will also examine the injustice that is perpetrated against women and the importance of female existence in the society.

1.4     Significance of the study  

This research work will be of immense significance to English and literature students’ world wide.  The study shall also be significant to other researchers who may like to examine the African culture which discriminate female folks and inequality written.

1.5     Research Methodology  

The research will focus primarily on Emecheta’s The Joy of Motherhood and Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus as its main source while other like library, internet, and other works of feminists writers will be added as it secondary sources. Therefore, it is library research method.

1.6     Scope and Limitation of the study

The scope and limitations of this work will be limited to Buchi Emecheta’s The Joy of Motherhood and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus.

Discriminatory Culture against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

1.7     Bio-Data of Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on 15th September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children born to Igbo parent. While the family’s ancestral hometown is Abba in Anambra State, Chimamanda grew up in Nsukka in a house formerly occupied by a Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. Chimamanda father, who is now retired, worked at the University of Nigeria, located in Nsukka.

He was the first professor of statistics and later became Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University. Her mother was the first female registrar at the same institution. Chimamanda completed here secondary education at the University school, Nsukka receiving several academic prizes. She went for Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria but dropped out after only one and half year.

During this period, she edited ‘The Compass’, a magazine run by the university’s Catholic medical students. At the age of nineteen, Chimamanda left for the United States of America. She gained a scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years and went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Chimamanda graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2001, and then completed master’s degree in creative writing at John Hopkins University, Baltimore. It is during her senior year at Eastern Connecticut State University that she started working on her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, which was released in October, 2003. The book has received wide critical acclaim it.

It was short listed for the Orange Fiction Prize (2004) and was awarded the Common Wealth Writer’s prize for best first book (2005). Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (also the title of one of her short stories) in set before and during the Biafra war. It was published in August 2006 in the United Kingdom and in September 2006 in the United State, Purple Hibiscus, released in Nigeria.

Chimamanda was a holder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic years, and earned an M.A in African studies from Yale University in 2008. Her collection of short stories, the things around your Neck, was published in 2009. She won prized like the O Henry prize stories collection 2003, caine prize (2002) for African writing, the orange prize for fiction in the United Kingdom. Her work has been selected by the Common Wealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC short story Awards

1.9     Bio-Data 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’s father was a railway worked but he 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 the age of 19, she followed her husband to London, when he was a student.

Her writing career which she started got her husband Sylvester Onwordi Upset that he burns her first novels. She however choose her career over husband, thereby discovering him after six years of marriage. She was appointed a senior research follow in the Department of English and Literature studies, in the University of Calabar, Nigeria. In 1980, she arrived to Nigeria; she was given an award of best black writer in Britain in 1978.

She has written many novels that focus on her life. For instance, her first two novels, In the Ditch and Second Class Citizen 1975, are loosely based on her own experiences as a single parent and are regarded as most accomplished works. Both books revolve around a young Nigeria woman named Adah and her search for a better quality of life. Other novels like The Slave Girl 1977, winner of the New Statesman Jock Campbell Award and

The Joys of Motherhood 1979, an account of women’s experiences bringing up children in the face of changing values in traditional  Igbo society. Her other novels  include Destination Biafra 1982, set during the Civil War in Nigeria, The Rap of Shavi 1983, and allegorical account of European colonization in Africa, Gwendoben 1989, the story of a young West Indian Girls living in London, and Kehinde 1994, about a middle-aged Nigerian wife and mother who returns to Nigeria after living in London for many years. Her latest work of fiction, The New Tribe, was published in 2000.

She is also the author of several novels for children including Nowhere to Play 1980 and The Moonlight Bride 1980. She published a volume of autobiography, Head Above Water, in 1986. Her television play, a kind of marriage, was first screened by the BBC in 1976. In 1983, she was selected as one of the friendly Best of young British writers by the Book Marketing Council.

She lectured in the United States throughout 1979 as visiting professor at a number of Universities and returned to Nigeria in 1980 as senior research follow and visiting professor of English at the University of Calabar. She runs the Ogwugwu Afor publishing Company with her son. It has branches in London, where she lives and in Ibuza. Since 1979, she has been a member on the Home Secretary’s Advisory Council on Race. She was a member of the Arts Council from 1982 to 1983 and is a regular contributor to the New Statesman, like Times Literary supplement and the Guardian.

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