In Besi Heads short story "Life" the main character is murdered by her husband. He gets sentenced by a white judge to only a few years in prison. In Heads short story "The Collector of Treasures," the protagonist, Dikeledi, murders her husband and is sentenced to life prison. By putting these two short stories into their historical context to be analyzed, it would be so clear that there are certain issues that has been raised during the events of these stories like; sexism, representation of women, the new stereotypical images that has been created by the colonizers in the mind of many African men. I will discuss these issues in relation to these short stories and Amina Mama's essay.
Although the two characters have been committed the same crime which was taken a human life; they didn't have the same punishment. For me, I think the judgment was based on sexism which made it unfair judgment. It's true that men and women are physically, emotionally, and mentally different and each one has his own way to see things so they can't have the same punishment even if they committed the same crime. According to this statement women may have a reductive sentence, because they are more passionate and easily lose control of themselves unlike men. But what we see in these short stories is the other way a round.
"The judge who was a white man and therefore not involved in Tswana custom and its debates was as much impressed by Lesego's manner as all the village men had been. 'This is a crime of passion,' he said sympathetically. 'So there are extenuating circumstances. But it is still a serious crime to take a human life so I sentence you to five years imprisonment" (Bessie, Head 'life' 46)
this example prove that the universal exist of sexism that the white judge who is not familiar of their customs and culture did have a discriminate judgment just because the killer is a man regardless to what he did.
As feminist reader I can see clearly who mush women were struggling to have a peaceful life. I'll bring evidences from the texts I have to support my argument that these two sentences are a sign of discrimination against women in other words it means sexism.
Women for along period of time suffer from being ignored, inferior, misunderstanding, sexism. In both stories we are introduced to marriage relationships in which these two wives are victims of sexism in their marriage; for example the husband in Life story was a dictatorial man in his behavior. "He wasn't the kind of man to fuss about the house and during this time he only made three pronouncements about the house hold. He took control of all the money. She had to ask him for it and state what it was to be used for."(Bessie, Head 'life'43) In addition to, his vulgar altitude. "He didn't like the transistor radio blaring the whole day long. 'Women who keep that thing going the whole day have nothing in their heads,' he said." (Bessie, Head 'life'43) as a man in that society he has the power and the right to tame the freedom of his wife and control her as a doll. This poor ignored wife
"Found no one with whom she could communicate what had become an actual physical pain. After a month of it, she was near collapse. One morning she mentioned her agony to the beer-brewers: 'I think I have made a mistake. Married life doesn't suit me.'" (Bessie, Head 'life'44)
As a result of her statue with her husband she tried to back to her old ways of living to escape her pain and her agony. When the husband knew a bout this, he killed with cold blood. When the police came to him and say "'You have taken a human life and you are cool like that!' they said angrily. 'You are going to hang by the neck for this. It's a serious crime to take a human life'" (Bessie, Head 'life'45). Here, the police reaction indicates who awful and serious crime this man did so that they agree on hanging him for this not sentence him for five years imprisonment, moreover; it was clear that what he did was...
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