The search for identity in Bessie Head's Maru

  • Itang E. Egbung
Keywords: Identify, Self Actualization, Oppression, Freedom, Colonialism, Bessie Head, Masarwas.


The search for identity is an inward search that is propelled by a situation where the real being of a person is questioned. Identity determines self-perception, configuration of spaces, and the politics of interpersonal relationship. This paper uses the feminist theory to argue that the search for identity and self-actualization is achievable in a society that thrives on racism, discrimination, dehumanization and oppression. This is apt because the liberation of the human race is also a feminist issue. The realization of this feat is made possible through hard work, perseverance, resoluteness, resilience and the acquisition of formal education. Using Bessie Head‘s Maru, this paper notes that the self-emancipation of the Masarwas is a metaphor for the liberation of humanity from bondage. The restoration of human dignity of the Masarwas from slavery and inhumanity through Margaret who is their ambassador for the reclamation of lost identity is a representation of the freedom of all the oppressed in the society. Therefore, Margaret is a prototype of a freedom fighter. Through Margaret the Masarwas are able to actualize themselves positively in the society domestically, economically, religiously, politically and socially.

Keywords: Identify; Self Actualization, Oppression, Freedom; Colonialism; Bessie Head; Masarwas.


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eISSN: 1119-443X