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New College
Melissa Levin

Engendering the Colonial Experience 02/07/2014 Analyze through: Intertextuality Feminism Combination What do these men authors do? Idealization: There is this idea that the colonial violence is about the emasculation of African men and women are already emasculated. It then marginalizes women’s reality during colonization. Emechata’s book then criticizes these ideas. Literature by men in Africa, we have to take into account that early on in the emerging of novel tradition, there is a dominance of men and we have men who are already defining the catalogue and we can relate this history to that of colonial education because the majority of the Africans educated then were males. Women’s writing began to take place I the early 60 and 70s and women weren’t given the chance to participate until then. The study of African literature and the criticisms of African literature were all fostered by men as well. What we then have is a patriarchal literary environment that emerges and leaves the women out which then defines the way women can be in the society. We get a silence of female presence and experience in literature. Dominant images of women Symbolic uses of women Is there an African feminist literary tradition? The ubiquitous tropes that we would read in males novels: Patriarchy: we will express patriarchy shaped in different ways. Males will dominate females and older men will dominate younger men. Through this ideology, we have often contradictory images of women that emerge. For example: we have women as the life-givers, equating women with earth. We also have women as the evil force as the temptress and a s a force to be controlled. These contradictory images are global. Essentially, this means that women are by-product of men and secondary creations and this finds its source from the myth of creation as women coming out of men’s sides. The 2 central images of women in the colonialist novels: Virgin/Whore (sometimes Madam/Madonna or prostitute farmer) and Motherhood/Prostitute (“pot of culture” to “sweep of history”) Implications of the motherhood trope: The mother is the nurturing, she is the caregiver, she gives comfort and is represented by a living and suffering person and is also the person we result to if we ourselves are suffering or in pain. In Things Fall Apart, there is a dichotomy between feminine and masculine qualities and the mother represents the refuge (Okonkwo seeks refuge in his mother’s village, his son as well seeks refuge with his mother whenever he isn’t happy or whenever he gets scared of his father). Also we have the earth goddess who is the life-giving deity, there is a sense of power with women but it is a power secluded in the notion of the life- giver. Also equating mother with Africa is a consistent trope. Which represents tradition, home, belonging ; “mama Africa” what this means for her is that she is the unchanged, unhistorical status individual. She is the one which is unchanging while the world sweeps forward in its own changing and globalization and modernity. Africa/Mother being the pot of culture as n women being repository about everything tradition. When we feel lost, we can turn to the woman and we will find within her an embodiment of all that we are. She is then a representative or the bearer of culture. There is then a evaluation of culture against the colonial ideas of African culture and we see the reemergence of the idea to return to culture, to return to mother Africa. In terms of the symbolism of the female, there is the romanticization of the motherhood. For male writers, this is the reality but for the fem
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