The Joys of Motherhood Essay

Topics: Gender role, Incentive, Woman Pages: 4 (1546 words) Published: February 15, 2012
The Joys of Motherhood, by Buchi Emecheta, describes the hardships of life in West-Africa from the perspective of Nnu Ego. The novel reveals the byproducts of development and colonialism in West-Africa; byproducts that affect society’s hierarchy of gender and subservience. Through the Englishman’s intervention in West-Africa, the economic well-being of families is greatly restored. However, this supposed positive change also casts many negative circumstances, in which the gender roles of male and female become more fluid. The shifting of gender roles within The Joys of Motherhood is a direct consequence of the colonialism and economic development of West-Africa. This traditional alteration as a direct result of economic enticement affects Arundhati Roy’s, Love Laws, when economics becomes the overriding factor in life itself. The Love Laws are governed by one’s economical standings. If a person brings no financial incentive to the table, then they become less loved.

Cordelia said, when talking about her husband Ubani, (CH4) “Men here are too busy being white men’s servants to be men. We women mind the home. Not our husbands. Their manhood has been taken away from them. The shame is that they don’t know it.” When colonialism met traditional twentieth century West-African society, it completely altered the roles of men. Nnu Ego agreed with Cordelia, saying that it felt like she was wedded to a middle-aged woman during the first stage of her second marriage, when Nnu Ego's husband Nniafe was working for the Meers. Nnu Ego also has little respect for Nniafe, as she criticizes not only Nniafe's conscious subordination by the Meer family, but also the fact that he takes pride in his job. This subservient role men play is not necessarily caused by Colonialism, but rather the capitalist based labor system they imposed upon West-African society. Men are only acting on behalf of the economic incentive working for colonialists...
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