Literature and Ethos of Public Space: Is There a Heaven Space for the Woman?

Article excerpt

Introduction

Literature as a creative arts draws her breadth from the society employing the highly skillful manipulation of language as its cloak. Hence, literature is an exploration of experience(s) located in time and space.

According to (Brown (ed.): 1973:7), Literature is a:

   Work of art ... always produced by a certain man in a certain
   time and place, and it is always related to its author's other
   works, his contemporaries, his sources and traditions, his
   intellectual, political, economic, and aesthetic climate.

A dimension of the above definition of literature by Brown is a pointer to even the tripartite nature of man with the spirit, the soul and the body which must work in harmony for a wholistic him. The work of arts thus encapsulates these man's essences. It is worth noting that man is virtually on a journey to self-discovery on this planet earth. He tries his hand on a number of things in this course. He asks many questions and seeks answers in several ways. Some of the basic questions man asks are: Who am I? Where am I? Why am I? How was I made? When was I made? Who made me? What am I doing here? Where did I come from and where am I going to? Attempted answers to these questions reveal the perplexity and complexity of man's life. Man's inability to reconcile with himself and often times others or his frustrating attempt to do so, manifests in his desire for a higher authority to look on to for help, and answers in order to demystify himself. It is in this quest that man locates the various gods which he worships. As an outlet to vent his confusion, the woman, the female, becomes the bin into which man's frustration is dumped. Man's quest to know the creator of the universe, life and the meaning of life is at the centre stage of religious inquiry. In man's attempt to unravel this mystery, many answers and perspectives have emerged from his religious heritage for instance:

What, the yogas mean for the Hindus, Budha's analysis of the cause of life's dislocation' ideal of the Gentleman, who Lao Tzu was, Islam's Five Pillars, what the Exodus meant to the Jews, the substance of the Good News for the early Christians ... the worth of an answer depends more on the adequacy with which it is defended than on whether it is right or wrong in any objectively demonstrable sense (Smith 1965:350-1).

The above quotation highlights the allusions to God in our Arts' Literary tradition globally; that of British and American Literatures are delineable from this also. Worthy of note is the common Divine ground each of man's religions toes. This includes the 'Golden Rule'--this Rule holds man's self-centeredness as the source of his troubles and seeks to help in its conquest--this self centeredness gives birth to the gender war palpable in our Arts' Literature.

Another common ground of all man's religions is that there is a "Belief in God--if there be God", and "Life is worth living--sometimes" (Smith 353:). * This may account for the dwindling population of men in Churches where women are permitted on the pulpit and vice versa where there are mostly or all men*. It is in the light of the above that this paper interrogates the incredibly limited gender space for the woman, challenges our brothers, fathers, sons, uncles and nephews to search the scripture afresh with a view to getting their prayers to heaven unhindered.

Another keyword in the topic in focus is "Heaven". Heaven according to Crudence Complete Concordance (1967:294) is:

   The abode of the redeemed after death and the second
   resurrection. It is also used for God, without whom there
   would be no Heaven ... sometimes used of the air ... and for the
   sky, wherein the sun, moon and stars are placed ... it is located
   above the earth ... it is the firmament.

Again the Holy Bible defines Heaven as the: 'New and Holy Jerusalem', 'tabernacle of God',

"the throne of God", 'a place where God will wipe away tears from his people', 'a city of Gold with twelve pearly gates', 'a place where God is', 'the temple', 'a place for overcomers of sinful life', 'a place not for the fearful', and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars (Revelation 21 verses 1-22). …