The Theme of Women Representation in Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Okpewoh’s the Last Duty
1.1 Background to the Study
Women’s place in society is thought a lot in contemporary studies. As well in literature, women’s representation is observed and criticized with feminist approach. Like most literature around the world, African literature also portrayed women in different shades. Incomplete and inaccurate female characters littered early African works. The fact, like other literature, African literature was first written by men. Educated African men not only come from patriarchal society but were educated by colonizers, who also come from patriarchal society. Some feminist critics say that male francophone African writers routinely portray their female characters in the stereotype of an oppressed and subjugated wife who has little if any say in shaping her destiny or changing the system that deprives and oppresses her
Feminism as a literary theory is an ideology which tends towards female liberation in the society. According to Joseph, Feminism as an ideology of social commitment to the struggle for female liberation in the society through conscious and collective effort (199)
Feminist criticism proceeds from the assumption that “the history of all the societies, is the history patriarch of male domination and exploitation of women” a situation which has hinder the actualization of women’s possibilities aid potentials in all fields of human Endeavour. (19)
Women all over the world are crying for liberation of their identity, women are only seen but not to be heard, due to the believe that they are weaker set, men take over every aspect of life there by subjecting women to domestic slave, Feminism like a maximum is concerned about societal inequalities. It is also a literary ideology founded on the need to develop a female tradition of creative to cause awareness on the high of women as the oppressed, deprived subjected and unfulfilled gender according to Obioma.
Women should not be seen as objects to decorate the homes but they should be regarded as major contributors to the destiny of the nation without really affecting the role as matters and wolves as home. (49)
Thus, it insists that the only way to send the oppression of women is for men to stop seeing women as a subject and inferior being Alchonel asserted that;
Women should no longer be decorative accessories, objects to be moved about, and companions to be flatted or claimed with promises, they should see themselves as nation’s primary fundamental roots, from which all else grows and blossom, women encourage to take a keen interest in the destiny of the country (77)
It is on this background that several African Feminist writers like Flora Nwapa, Zaynab Alkalie etc advocate equal rights for women. The writers are gradient in their approaches to women emancipation as they portray the ability of their rural woman to be part with men in farming.
Feminism exists in a rich diversity of forms, reflecting a complex historical development. According to Guerin (1992:82), this diversity has been especially important as feminists try more and more to examine the experience of women form all race and classes and cultures.
Lives of women were (and still are) often portrayed in negative terms. Although it is difficult to generalize about the lives of women from different cultural, racial, economic and religious background in a century of steady change, women are agitating for a change in status in various ways where generalization can be made. African women are treated as second class +
According to Gwendolyn Mikell, the emerging women movement across Africa is quite like it counterpart in the western world. They are both based on the same ideology: the ideology of the women as a sexual being. The continent’s political unrest and cultural milieu have helped to shape this ideology. In anthills of the savannah Achebe’s presents women ads protagonists. Beatrice in anthills of the savannah inspires the men around her, especially as she tries to get them to mend their relationships that are falling apart. Emecheta uses gender and sexuality to express the many ways in which society treated women and the obstacle that they had to overcome. African male writers have presented better myths and images of women in their play. From the aforementioned, the research work seeks to expose the effects and negativities representation of women, as seen in Isidore Okpewoh’s The Last Duty, and Chimanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, some cultural practices that forfeits women rights, personality shall be analysed and needs to stop
1.2 Statement of the problem
The injustice and negative representation of women in the Africa society and African literary works by most African male writer have lead to clashes between male and female writers. The problem has made writers to disagree in their perception and ideas about Feminism in African Fiction.
Traditional gender role cast men as rational, strong, protective and decisive. In contrast, women are presented as emotional (irrational), weak and submissive. Gerdalerner quoted in lodge:
Women have been left out of history not because of the evil conspiracies of men in general Or male historian in particular, but because we have Considered history only in male centered terms, we Have missed and their activities because of history Which are inappropriate to women.(345).
In some African literary works, there has been the problem of maltreatment of women by men in African fiction. The female characters are mostly maltreated and portrayed negative as men extremity to male characters. Therefore, this research is set to investigate the manners in which women are deprived of their rights in African society
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to examine representation of women, using two carefully, selected play as primary data, Chimanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Isidore Okpewoh’s The Last Duty through the Use of radical feminism to show that women should be treated equally as men and that gender difference is no excuse for maltreatment or sexual harassment. This work aims at bringing to deem light how cultural practices affect women, the pain it bring and the overall survival of female gender, the roles they could play in their community to make the society a better place it also focuses on how women have struggled side by side with their male counterparts against the general injustice and oppression that the few privileged.
1.4 Significance of the study
The importance of women in any given society cannot be underestimated and this research work will be significant in the following ways:
- It will reveal how women take part in revolutionary activities.
- It will also reveal how women play active roles with men in the development of the society.
- It will also help men to learn how to value their women knowing full well that the women are also human being
- It will also help other researcher to have the full knowledge on the important of women in the society and the need to treat them with care and love as the carriers of generation and life.
1.5 Research Methodology
This research work is basically a library research, and internet browsing. Information gathered from primary works such as Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, constitutes the primary research method, which is used to carry out the work
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The scope of the study is restricted to an investigation in the “the representation of women” in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a yellow sun and Isidore Okpewho’s The last Duty.
Hence, the limitation of this study lies within the confines of the researcher’s inability to reach out for field documentations to further showcase the evil of negative representation of women in any society.
1.7 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this research work is intended specifically to ascertain why women are being negatively represented and maltreated in African society using Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a yellow sun and Isidore Okpewho’s The last Duty.
- To examine and investigate how women are represented in African fiction
- To also examine the effect of deprivation of women’s’ rights.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Representation: representation is an exhibit, whether it comes in the form of legal guidance or in the form of artistic expression. The act of representation has to do with replacing or acting on behalf of an original
Women: a, female, lady referring to adult human beings who are biologically female, that is, capable of bearing offspring
Feminist: A feminist is someone who supports equal rights for women.