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Literacy as a Tool for Cultural Independence: Female Aspirations and Achievements in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Buchi Emecheta’s Kehinde
Through the acquisition and internalization of formal education, Nettie and Shug Avery, among other females, in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Kehinde with her friend, Moriammo, in Buchi Emecheta’s Kehinde are able to grapple with and challenge their predominantly male prone cultures and societies which connive to oppress and suppress them for the mere fact that they are women. In the societies portrayed, illiterate women are literally and sexually abused, exploited and silenced by the men, but educated females like those mentioned above regularly strive to negate these abuses, exploitation and the attendant invisibility. Educated females in the Walker’s and Emecheta’s novels cited here succeed in actively impacting on the lives of other members, males and females alike, of their families and communities. Thus, they become role models for other females aspiring to free themselves from gender and other socio-cultural oppressions that manifest regularly in their societies and which are often taken for granted by the men.