No Sweetness Here

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Throughout the collection, Aidoo depicts women who survive despite the obstacles in neo-colonial Ghanaian society. For the majority of these women independence has brought no relief and has in fact only increased the difficulties they face. There is indeed "no sweetness here" but nonetheless, survival is the driving force throughout the collection. While Aidoo certainly seems to be committed to portraying the material, economic and social problems which plague post-colonial Ghanaian society and the difficulties which these cause in the daily lives of the women in her stories; it seems that she is equally committed to portraying strong female characters who survive in face of these adversities. One reason for this is perhaps her conscious attempt to reject stereotypical depictions of women as passive and weak and instead demonstrate the strength and resilience of African women. Like many of her contemporaries, Aidoo harshly critiques the failure of independence to bring improvement to the majority of people's lives but Aidoo differs to some extent differs in her portrayal of ordinary people in Ghana. In both The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born and Fragments, for instance, Armah portrays a society in which virtually everyone is corrupt and hardly any character, aside from the protagonist, is exempt from responsibility for the problems which plague the society.

Aidoo, on the other hand, while critiquing the elites and the bourgeoisie, emphasizes the strength of her predominantly female characters who despite the material difficulties that pervade their society struggle to survive and overcome these obstacles. This can be seen in "Certain Winds from the South", in which Aidoo discusses the effects of poverty on families and particularly the experience of women and children who are left behind by men who must seek work elsewhere so as to be able to support their families. The socio-economic relations between the northern and southern regions of Ghana are such that...
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