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Emecheta, Buchi

values girl traditional novels

(Nigerian, 1944– )

Emecheta left Nigeria for London in 1962. After leaving her abusive husband she took a sociology degree and began writing. In the Ditch (1972) and Second Class Citizen (1974) are thinly veiled autobiographical novels which bluntly depict her early years in North London, focusing specifically on the political realities of being a single black mother in 1960s' Britain. Many of her subsequent novels concentrate on the status of the black woman in traditional Ibo society. Emecheta is particularly interested in the effects of colonialism on traditional society. Education is seen as a liberating force. One of her most compelling novels, The Slave Girl (1977), tells the tragic story of a young Ibo girl, sold into slavery by her brother. The girl, Ojebeta, is forced to grapple with traditional values, and the imposed values of capitalism and Christianity.

Ironically titled, The Joys of Motherhood (1979) traces the tragic life of Ibuza, born Nnu Ego, through two marriages and six children. Immersed in the disorientating values of the city and investing everything in her children, she dies alone on the roadside. Double Yoke (1982) concentrates on the new educational opportunities for women in 1980s' Nigeria through the central character who is both desperate to fulfil her role as devoted wife and eager to be an educated career woman.

Jean Rhys, Maya Angelou, Wole Soyinka  EW

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