Joys of Motherhood

Topics: British Empire, Colonialism, Imperialism Pages: 4 (1477 words) Published: June 13, 2013
Though many themes and poignant arguments arise in Buchi Emecheta’s Joys of Motherhood, the most bold of these is the impact of colonial rule on traditional African society and its ambiguous affects thereafter. These themes specifically come about in the text as the clash between colonialists and Africans and how colonial occupation comes to alter the natural development of African cities and villages. It becomes obvious that the influences of colonial presence in Africa are and will continue to be disruptive and detrimental to the lives of Africans. Though this colonial disruption is highlighted immensely, the oppressed people continually move to sidestep the obstructions placed within their society. Even with the oppression of colonial rule upon them, Emecheta’s characters manage to create insular communities to maintain both dignity and tradition. Nnu Ego returns to her father’s house and is again married off, but this time to a fellow Ibo working in Lagos as a domestic for British colonials. The arranged marriage between Nnaife and Nnu Ego is never smooth, and indeed from her first sight of her husband on their wedding day in Lagos, Nnu Ego is disillusioned, though willing to follow custom and fulfill her duties as a wife (Emecheta, 43). Though Nnu Ego is unhappy with Nnaife’s duties as a domestic servant, she stays positive in the marriage in the hopes that her chi will bless the union by allowing her to become a mother. Though her first child dies, Nnu Ego eventually goes on to mother eight children. Despite his less than desirable position as a British domestic servant, Nnaife fully assumes his position as the male head-of-household in his home in accordance with Ibo custom (Emecheta, 47-48). As the eldest son of his family, upon his younger brother’s death, Nnaife marries his two sisters-in-law and brings one of them to Lagos and incorporates her and her children into the household with his family with Nnu Ego (Emecheta, 120). The marriage of Nnu...

Cited: Emecheta, Buchi. The Joys of Motherhood: A Novel. New York: G. Braziller, 1979. Print.
Lunn, J.H. “Kande Kamara Speaks.” Africa and the First World War. Editor M. Paige. London: Macmillan,1987. 28-53. Web. 16 May 2013
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