So Long A Letter And Scarlet Song Critical Analysis

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This project will examine the dynamics of oppression and friendship within female relationships in Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter (1981) and Scarlet Song (1986), Buchi Emecheta’s Joys of Motherhood (1979) and Kehinde(1994), also Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come(2008). African literary critics and past analyses of these works focus more on culture and patriarchy as the sole perpetrators of gender oppression. Also, critical African texts are silent on the benefits of friendship among women. These themes will be framed or grounded through the lens of Molara Ogundipe-Leslie’s stwanist theory and Carol Davie’s Ngambika – balancing. Through this project, I hope to contribute to existing body of knowledge these neglected aspect of African literary criticism.
Chapter one exposits the relationship or intersection of feminism and culture in African
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In these two novels, women appropriate power – they sabotage other women in order to claim or reclaim power without giving thought to the lives that will be affected by their choice. The echo of Carol Boyce-Davies that “The most important challenge to the African woman is her own self-perception since it is she who will have to define her own freedom” (7) can be heard loudly in these novels. The women portrayed in these two novels claim agency because they could not see themselves beyond patriarchal definition of who they are. In Scarlet Song, Yaye Khadi proves that the oppressor/victim binary is not male exclusive. Oppressing Mireille, her daughter in-law is the way she reclaims power as the only woman worth recognition in the family. She connives with Ouleymatou to deprive Mireille marital happiness in order to assert her position in the house. And while the new wife thinks that she is being loved and supported, she is just another victim of Yaye Khadi – a woman who empowers herself at the expense of other

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