The representation of women in the selected literary works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Buchi Emecheta

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie dan Buchi Emecheta merupakan penulis feminis Afrika yang terkemuka. Karya kedua-dua orang penulis ini telah dikaji secara meluas. Oleh itu, kajian ini bertujuan menganalisis kekuatan wanita dalam menentang penindasan kaum lelaki di bawah sistem patriakal tradisional di Afrika seperti yang digambarkan dalam tujuh buah novel yang dikaji. Penyelidikan ini dijalankan dengan tiga objektif, iaitu a) untuk mengenal pasti jenis layanan yang diterima oleh kaum wanita dalam masyarakat patriakal tradisional dalam novel terpilih Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, iaitu Purple Hibiscus, Half of A Yellow Sun, serta The Thing Around Your Neck dan karya Buchi Emecheta, iaitu The Bride Price, The Joys of Motherhood, The Slave Girl dan Second- class Citizen, b) untuk menggambarkan cara kaum wanita bertindak balas terhadap kuasa patriakal seperti yang digambarkan oleh Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie dalam Purple Hibiscus, dan Half of A Yellow Sun serta Buchi Emecheta dalam The Bride Price dan The Joys of Motherhood, dan c) untuk menunjukkan cara watak wanita menggunakan kuasa mereka dalam novel Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, iaitu Purple Hibiscus, Half of A Yellow Sun, serta The Thing Around Your Neck dan dalam novel Buchi Emecheta, iaitu The Bride Price, The Joys of Motherhood, The Slave Girl dan Second-class Citizen. Kajian ini dipacu oleh dua perspektif teori, iaitu teori pascakolonial dan teori feminisme. Data daripada novel dianalisis menggunakan analisis sastera dan analisis teks. Hasil kajian memperlihatkan bahawa watak wanita bertindak balas dengan cara yang hampir sama dalam ketujuh-tujuh karya yang dianalisis. Watak wanita dalam Purple Hibiscus dan Half of A Yellow Sun bertindak menolak perlakuan patriakal tradisional dan hal ini memberikan kebebasan kepada mereka. Watak wanita dalam The Bride Price dan The Joys of Motherhood pula bertindak dengan mencabar perlakuan patriakal tradisional yang menyebabkan mereka menjadi wanita yang berdikari. Kuasa patriakal dalam masyarakat yang didominasi oleh kaum lelaki telah menyumbang kepada masalah dan cabaran besar yang mempengaruhi kehidupan sebahagian besar wanita Afrika. Dapatan ini mewajarkan keperluan untuk mengkaji novel Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie dan Buchi Emecheta dari perspektif feminis berhubung dengan penguasaan dan penderitaan wanita. Kajian ini juga menambah dan memperkaya kosa ilmu sedia ada dalam penyelidikan berkenaan representasi wanita. Oleh itu, kajian ini menyarankan agar teori pascakolonial dan feminisme diterapkan dalam kajian mengenai representasi wanita.

Kata kunci: Novel feminis Afrika, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Buchi Emecheta, struktur patriakal Afrika, representasi wanita




Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Buchi Emecheta are prominent African feminist writers whose works have been studied extensively. Therefore, the present study aimed at analyzing the power of women in fighting against male oppression under the traditional patriarchal system in Africa as portrayed in the seven selected novels. This research was conducted with three objectives: a) to identify the kinds of treatment women received in traditional patriarchal society in the selected novels of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Purple Hibiscus, Half of A Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck and Buchi Emecheta in The Bride Price, The Joys of Motherhood, The Slave Girl and Second-class Citizen b) to describe how the women react towards patriarchal power imposed on them as depicted by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Purple Hibiscus and Half of A Yellow Sun and Buchi Emecheta in The Bride Price and The Joys of Motherhood, and c) to show how the women characters exercise their power in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels Purple Hibiscus and Half of A Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck and Buchi Emecheta’s novels in The Bride Price, The Joys of Motherhood, The Slave Girl and Second-Class citizen. The theoretical perspectives that framed the study was Post- colonial theory and Feminism. The data were obtained by analyzing the novels using literary analysis and textual analysis. The findings show that the ways the women characters exercised their actions are almost the same in the seven novels. The women characters in Purple Hibiscus and Half of A Yellow Sun exercised their actions by rejecting the traditional patriarchal treatments which led to their freedom. In The Bride Price and The Joys of Motherhood, the women characters also exercised their actions by challenging the traditional patriarchal treatments which led them to become independent women. The patriarchal powers of the male dominance society had contributed to major problems and challenges affecting the lives of most of the African women. The findings have established the need to study Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Buchi Emecheta’s novels from the feminist perspective in relation to women’s subjugation and subjugation.

The study has also added to and enriched the existing literature on the representation of women research. Therefore, it is suggested that the Postcolonial theory and feminism is applied to studies on representation of women.

Keywords: African feminist novels, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Buchi Emecheta, African patriarchal structure, the representation of women




This thesis is dedicated to the Almighty Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful for His benevolence and mercies towards me and my family. And to My late father Alhaji Alkasim Haruna, Alhaji Uba Haruna Kiyawa and entire Haruna families, my mother, Khadija Musa Muhammad for their sacrifices, love and for my wife and our children prayers for their sacrifice in the course of this PhD journey.




To the God Almighty, the entirely Merciful and especially Merciful, whose eternal mercy has helped me to complete this study. His divine kindness is felt in all facets of my life

“Alhamdulillah Ala Kulli Halin” the success of this work is dedicated to my late father Alhaji Alkasim Haruna, my mum Khadijat Musa Muhammad, Alhaji Uba Haruna Kiyawa, whose his financial endless support, encouragement, strength immense moral and spiritual support has taken me further. However, this accomplishment would not have been possible without the continuous guidance of my supervisor Dr. Rafizah Mohd Rawian, who offered me insights, expertise experiences and further stimulated my interest in this research. I also acknowledge the effort, of Associate Professor, Dr. Noor Hashima Abd Aziz who devoted her time, academic experience reviewing the whole thesis giving comments and suggestions. Working with her was entirely useful to me and has truly provided me rare opportunity and unique privilege to my personal growth and career development. Indeed, I am humbly thankful to her, I pray to Allah Subhanahu Wataa Allah to bless her, and her children and grant her Aljannatul Firdausi in the hereafter. Without her efforts and support, constant enthusiasm, suggestions, constructive criticism and most importantly, flexibility and willingness to help at each stage of this study.

My earnest appreciation goes to my dearest wife Surayya Muhammad Nasir, for her unconditional love, hopefulness, and patience through it all, their emotional support and sacrifices made this possible. And to our children, Zainab Haruna, Husna Haruna, Najeeb Haruna, Khadijat Haruna *(Amatullah)* who was born during this journey, for their patience and understanding. I am grateful for their perpetual support which keeps me thriving throughout.

I cannot underestimate the emotional support and interminable care received from Safiyanu Adamu Kiyawa, Nasiru Hassan Kiyawa, Sani Bello, Yusuf Karfe Hotoro, Sabitu Mukhtar Likoro, from my employer, M. Sani Suleman, Dr. Mustapha Abubakar Kiyawa former Dean of School of Languages, M. Gambo Abubakar, M. Habu Isa Garki, all the remaining staffs of Hausa, English and Arabic Departments, from academic colleagues at Universiti Utara Malaysia are: Dr. Bilkisu Mai-Jama’a Nasarawa State University, Dr. Afolabi Olarongbe Deputy Rector of Federal Polytechnic Offa Kwara State, Dr. Mohammed Abdullahi Baba Kwara State, Dr. Ishaq Ahmad Mohammad, Federal College of Education Technical Gombe, my cousin brother, M. Ishaq Uba Haruna Kiyawa, Federal University Dutse, Dr. Yusuf Tanko, Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education Kumbotso Kano, Dr. Ibraheem Alani, Dr. Isa Yusuf Chamo HOD Linguistics Bayero University Kano. Finally, I also express my appreciation to my employer, Jigawa State College of Education Gumel of Nigeria for approval/sponsoring my study.



Table of content

Permission to Use ... i

Abstrak ... ii

Abstract ... iii

Dedication ... iv

Acknowledgement ... v

Table of content ... vi

List of Tables ... ix

List of Figures ... x

List of Abbreviation ... xi

List of Appendixes ... xii


1.1 Background of the Study ... 1

1.1.1 Post-Colonial Literature ... 15

1.2 Problem Statement ... 22

1.3 Research Objectives ... 26

1.4 Research Questions ... 27

1.5 Scope of the Study ... 27

1.6 Significance of the Study ... 29

1.7 Definition of Terms ... 30

1.8 Organisation of the Thesis ... 31

1.9 Summary ... 32


2.1 Introduction ... 33

2.2 The Concept of Feminism ... 33

2.3. The Concept of Post-Colonial Theory ... 35

2.4 The Second and Third Generation Writers ... 38

2.5 The Representation of Women in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Buchi Emecheta’s Novels . 40 2.6 Theoretical Framework ... 42

2.7 Research Works on Representation of Women ... 49

2.8 Research Works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Gender Oppression ... 64



2.9 Review Related Literature on Buchi Emecheta Novels ... 93

2. 9.1 Portrayal of Gender Oppression in the novel of Bride Price ... 94

2.9. 2 Summary ... 110


3.1 Introduction ... 111

3.2 Research Approach ... 111

3.3 Conceptual Framework ... 113

3.4 Data Analysis ... 117

3. 5 Text Selection ... 119

3.6. Synopsis of the Selected Seven Novels ... 120

3.6.1 Purple Hibiscus ... 120

3.6.2 Synopsis of Half of A Yellow Sun. ... 121

3.6.3 Synopsis of The Thing Around Your Neck ... 124

3.6.4 Synopsis of The Bride Price ... 126

3.6.5 Synopsis The Joys of Motherhood ... 128

3.6.6 Synopsis The Slave Girl ... 129

3.6.7 Synopsis Second-class Citizen ... 132

3.7 Summary ... 135


4.1 Introduction ... 136

4.2. Findings ... 137

4.2.1 The Portrayal Patriarchal Subjugation to Family ... 137

4.2.2 Gender Bias towards newborn baby Girls ... 151

4.2.3 Primitive Beliefs ... 155

4.2.4 Oppression and Trauma ... 160

4.2.5 Barren Women ... 166

4.3 Findings. ... 184

4.3.1 Subverting Oppressive Cultural Practices and Traditions ... 185

4.3.2 Taking Blames on Behalf of Family Members ... 195

4.4 Findings ... 210

4.4.1 Identity Formation ... 210

4.4.2 Female Struggle to Free Themselves from Traditional Beliefs ... 229

4.4.3 Free from Domestic Slavery ... 234



4.5 Summary ... 257


5.1 Introduction ... 259

5.2 Summary ... 259

5.3 The Implications of Representation of Women in Literary Research ... 266

5. 4 The Limitations of the Study ... 268

5.5 Recommendations ... 268

5.6 Conclusion ... 269

References ... 272

Appendix A List of Female Characters/Husbands/Children ... 312

Appendix B Cover Pages of the Novels ... 313



List of Tables

Table 4.1 Themes on the types of treatment women received from Adichie and Emecheta the novels.………...……….………137 Table 4.2 Themes that illustrate how women reacted towards the patriarchal power

imposed on them from Adichie and Emecheta

novels..……….……185 Table.4.3 Themes that shows women characters, exercise their actions




List of Figures

Figure 2.1 Underpinning Theories of the Studies……….………….48 Figure 3.1 Conceptual Framework………..…….………115



List of Abbreviation

PH……….... Purple Hibiscus HAYS………Half of A Yellow Sun

THARYN………The Thing Around Your Neck TBP………...……The Bride Price TJOM………... The Joys of Motherhood TSG………The Slave Girl SCTZ………..………Second-class Citizen



List of Appendixes




1.1 Background of the Study

Research on feminism mostly centered on women inequalities, gender discrimination and bias (Evans, 2014; Disch & Hawkesworth, 2018). The issues of marginalization tend to take various structure. It could be in the form of personal, family, physical, mental, political and other social injustices affecting women (Eagleton, 2010; McCann & Kim, 2013). In addition, feminist discourse focuses mainly on women liberation, freedom and equal rights across the world. For example, feminism in Nigeria is a different case based on what is happening in Europe and other developed Western nations.

The social contrasts existing in Nigeria make it difficult, if certainly feasible, for people to share equivalent rights and furthermore be treated as equivalent in the social, political and economic circles. Prior to the appearance of colonial masters, Nigerian women were compliant, modest, as well asmaking great allies of their spouses. Culture does not allow them to have some social capacities, only binding them with strict rituals and other customary practices (Doncu, 2018; Ogene, 2016; Ijeoma, 2015). Nigerian culture acknowledges a woman wedding a man, like in eastern part neither does Igbo people culture permit women to break cola nut before men to disguise other people. On the other hand, for the Nigerian cultural heritage, it is a taboo for women to take their personal decision which culture denied them and this is affecting their lives as human being.




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