Patriarchy in Buchi Emecheta’s The Slave Girl and Bessie Head’s A Question of Power: A Gynocentric Approach

  • Ashenafi Aboye
Keywords: gender; patriarchy; gynocentrism; African literature; Anglophone


African literature has been dominated by male African writers. However, there are a number of female African writers who contributed to the literary landscape of the continent significantly. In line with this, researches that deal with issues of gender in African literature are increasing (Fonchingong, 2006; Salami-Boukari, 2012; Stratton, 1994). In this study, I aim to expose patriarchal oppression in two selected post-colonial African novels. I ask “How do postcolonial African female writers expose gender oppression and patriarchy in their novels?” I ask how the female characters in the selected novels resist patriarchal dominance and oppression. I seek to uncover any thematic patterns and/or overlaps that would emerge across the selected novels. To achieve this, I analyze two feminist Anglophone African novels by female writers of the continent, namely ‘The Slave Girl’ and ‘A Question of Power’. Gynocentrism is used as an approach to achieve this purpose. The analyses of the novels make it feel that patriarchy is used as a tool to stabilize the discrimination of the feminine gender. The heroines in both novels are found to be patriarchal women with some attempt to reverse the gender order. The major female characters in the novels stand against the intersectional discrimination of the feminine from the male personhood, religion, as well as colonial culture. These discussions about patriarchy revive the vitality of African feminist novels to the present readers.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2520-582X
print ISSN: 1810-4487