Wind from the West: Option for Female Individuality In Zaynab Alkali’s The Descendants
She knew education is the master key to opportunities for a better life. Education opens doors and gives an individual option in life…” (13-14)
This paper which christens Education as the fair ‘wind from the west’ in defining individuality across the gender divide, specifically targets the female gender in Alkali’s The Descendants. The above quotation from Zaynab Alkali’s The Descendants unfolds insistence and consistence of female individuality as the hallmark of feminist writing. It envisions a focus and a belief in a cause. It also toes the Hardian line of firmly pursuing life’s philosophy rather than wallowing in the existing realities. Little wonder Alkali’s The Descendants (2005) written about three decades after The stillborn (1984), her first novel, is the novelist’s most ambitious literary effort. This latest literary creation in a two-hundred and thirty-five paged
prose form encapsulates and insists on the novelist’s earlier themes of selfactualisation through education. Alkali’s belief in the potency of education as a vehicle into other worlds especially for the female gender is heightened in the novel in view with an added dimension of petitioning heaven (through Magira Mill’s prayer) for the answer. The author advocates gender equity through strong female characterisation. She establishes that the individually assertive woman’s world does not mean ‘a world without men’ but rather a world of peaceful and harmonious coexistence.