The Treatment of Patriarchy in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come

Olusola Oso


While studies on the patriarchal order and the marginalization of women in male-authored African novels abound, not much has been done to examine together the works of female novelists of different generational and ideological orientations. This study therefore examines the treatment of patriarchy in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come. The study is grounded on feminist theory. Feminism is considered appropriate because it is aimed at empowering women in the society, and the novels under review expose how women are oppressed and marginalized in many African societies, and stress the need for the women to challenge the status quo with a view to liberating themselves from the oppressive African men. The research is essentially library-based and involves textual analysis. The study demonstrates how female African novelists have responded to the phallic nature of the African literature by empowering the female characters in their novels, and unabashedly exposing the patriarchal proclivity of the African men. The study shows how the two novelists give a fair representation of the historical backgrounds of their novels. One recurring feature of these novels is that the feminist zeal of the novelists sometimes beclouds their sense of judgement. The male characters in the novels are unfairly represented and bestialised. The import of this is that, given the proliferation of promising African female novelists in our present generation, there is the need for them to pursue their feminist goal vigorously but realistically.


Feminism; African literature; Patriarchy; Women oppression

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