Intra-gender relationships and the role of women in sustaining widowhood practices in Nigeria: Ifeoma Okoye’s The Trial as a paradigm
The concept of widowhood in the African cultural milieu appears to be that of trauma, peril and dehumanization. This study attempts to interrogate the practice of widowhood in some Nigerian communities using “The Trial” a short story in Ifeoma Okoye's literary text titled The Trial and Other Stories with a view to exposing the faulty frameworks within which cultural norms are established for the widow, and in the process, initiate an intragender scholarly dialogue. Using context analysis approach of the qualitative research method, the study presents the opinions of various traditional Igbo women as represented by the characters in “The Trial” to ascertain their perception on obnoxious widowhood practices. The findings revealed that apart from the victim (widow), almost all the traditional women accept the practice as a norm that should be sustained. This makes them to protect the practices rather than protest. The theory of motherism is adopted for the analysis. The researcher recommends a proper re-orientation to expunge the negative notion from the psyche of women generally.
Keywords: widowhood, tradition, women, perception, norm