A critical study of Buchi Emecheta's fiction 1972-1989
This thesis proposes to study comprehensively the contribution of Buchi Emecheta to African literature and to the debate over feminism and African and black women. Chapters one and two are a background to the investigation of Emecheta's fiction. They examine the work of selected African female and male novelists in order to assess the representation of he African woman in the novel and her role and place in a changing society. The writings of women are considered in relation to women's priorities and the orientation of the African novel itself. The notion of protest as a rhetorical device is considered in Chapters three and four. They chart Emecheta's condemnation of patriarchal ethics in four of her novels. The awakening and growth in consciousness of her heroines is studied in detail in Chapter four which also considers the novelist's interest in national questions. Chapters five and six discuss the attitudes of African/black women towards feminism as practised in the West and how it is reflected in the positions of Emecheta and some other African female writers; how this is perceived in the writing of black women in Britain and of representative African-American novelists and critics. Lesbianism and radical separatism are discussed, as is the womanist alternative. While Chapter five is fundamentally theoretical, Chapter six traces the evolution of Emecheta's own views by way of her first two novels of the early seventies and the latest one published in 1989. Language and style are under consideration in Chapters seven, eight and nine. Chapter seven is concerned with placing Emecheta within the debate about literatures in African languages. Chapter eight deals with stylistic developments in Emecheta's fiction in terms of narrative strategy and the source from which she constructs the figures in her prose. The presentation of speech is scrutinized in chapter nine as part of realism, which entails an examination of the function of proverbs and Pidgin English in the novels.