Contemporary African Literature and the Politics of Gender

By Florence Stratton | Go to book overview

7

GENDER ON THE AGENDA

Novels of the 1980s by Ngũgĩ and Achebe

Some men writers, ‘men of good will’ as Mariama Bâ would call them, 1 have also attempted to transcend the sexual allegory and hence to resolve the problems of gender in ways that run counter to the biases embedded in the contemporary African male literary tradition. In my first two chapters, I sought to uncover some of those biases, to probe from the perspective of gender the ‘unconscious’ of the male tradition in order to reveal what that tradition, as it is embodied in both literature and criticism, has tried to conceal: its social determination in patriarchy. The literary texts that were examined in those chapters were published over a thirty-year period, beginning in 1945 with the appearance of Senghor’s ‘Femme noire’ and ending in 1977 with the publication of Ngũgĩ’s Petals of Blood. In this, my last chapter, I will examine two male-authored novels that were published in the 1980s, Ngũgĩ’s Devil on the Cross (1982) 2 and Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah (1987). These novels signal an important new departure in contemporary African literature: men writers’ engagement with women writers in a dialogue on gender. They also mark a new departure in Ngũgĩ’s and Achebe’s work, for in each an attempt is made to transform the status of women from that of object to that of subject.

Both Ngũgĩ and Achebe have made statements of authorial intention with regard to the role of their central female characters, statements which indicate a commitment to gender reform. Ngũgĩ opens Detained, his prison diary, by hailing Warĩĩnga as his inspiration: ‘Warĩĩnga heroine of toil… there she walks haughtily carrying her freedom in her hands’ (3). Later, he tells of the decision he made regarding her characterization: ‘Because the women are the most exploited and oppressed section of the entire working class, I would create a picture of a strong determined woman with a will to resist and to struggle against the conditions of her present being’ (10). In an interview he gave shortly after the publication of Anthills, Achebe also

-158-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Contemporary African Literature and the Politics of Gender
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Aspects of the Male Literary Tradition 21
  • 1 - How Could Things Fall Apart for Whom They Were Not Together? 22
  • 2 - The Mother Africa Trope 39
  • Part II - Room for Women 57
  • 3 - Men Fall Apart 58
  • 4 - Flora Nwapa and the Female Novel of Development 80
  • 5 - Their New Sister 108
  • 6 - Literature as A…weapon 133
  • Part III - Men Write Back 157
  • 7 - Gender on the Agenda 158
  • Conclusion 171
  • Notes 177
  • Bibliography 185
  • Index 195
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 200

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.