Gender Violence In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus And Half Of A Yellow Sun

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Gender Violence In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus And Half Of A Yellow Sun


Abstract


Gender-based violence is not a new problem in the Nigerian society or other societies of the world. Violence against an individual on the basis of his /her gender is common place and is becoming endemic. Various studies have been carried out on what fosters gender violence and what makes it thrive with a view to putting an end to the problem. This has opened up various arguments as to how the problem can best be tackled. This study looks at the analyses of gender violence in the Nigerian novel and how Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie presents this problem in her novels; Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a Yellow Sun (2006).

This research interrogates how Adichie presents gender violence in these novels and how it affects the female gender. This study demonstrates that the texts selected by its thematic preoccupation and character delineation show culture and tradition as strong factors in sex differentiation, creation of gender identities and power sharing. It also shows that socially constructed roles and identities contribute to domestic and social violence in patriarchal societies. The study examines the themes, metaphors and symbolic representation of characters through the feminist perspective and Max Weber’s power theory. This is because the analyses of gender relations must take into cognizance theories of a person’s biological sex and gender identity and how it affects power sharing and the role of tradition, laws and the dominant ideology in the perpetuation of gender-based violence. Adichie‘s writings portray a strong call against gender violence and the treatment of women as commodities.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Sex, Gender and Violence.

In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to women writing in Africa. Consequently, gender studies dominated the literary scene and the representation of women in male authored works precipitated many critical debates. In other words, there has been more interest in examining the ways in which men behave, particularly in relation to women. Consequently, a literary canon was developed in which women writers give a re-presentation of the female experience by depicting a different image of women in their works in variance wih the earlier works by male authors.

In furtherance of the argument on the importance of women writing about the female experience in literary texts, Aidoo (1996) submits that, ―Women writers write about women because when we wake up in the morning and look in the mirror we see women”. Many female writers try to bring into focus their femaleness/femininity and personal experiences in their narratives and in doing so highlight power differences between men and women. As a result, women scholars and activists have pioneered a literary canon built on sexual politics aimed at stamping gender and feminism into both criticism and theory. This is with the aim of replacing a tradition that is viewed as masculine and domineering by female critics like Showalter (1985). She maintains that gender has become an analytic category whether the concerns are representation of sexual difference, (re)shaping masculinity, building feminine values or exclusion of female voice from the literary canon.


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