The Culture and Discrimination against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s the Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

Culture and Discrimination against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s the Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus
Culture and Discrimination against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s the Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus



1.1      Background to the Study

Throughout history, women generally have had fewer legal rights and career opportunities then men have. Wifehood and womanhood were considered as women’s most significant professions and they are long considered naturally weaker than men are. Their rights and being are taken for granted. Silence becomes the virtue of women but with education, the silence is broken. Chambers 21st. century dictionary says:

Culture is the custom, ideas, values of a particular civilization, society or social group, especially at a particular time, and the appreciation of art, music, literature, improvement, and development through care and training. (P.327)

Reuters .T. reports that; “Discrimination is to distinguish, single out, or make a distinction in everyday life, when faced with more than one option.” For the purpose of this research, the definition of women in chambers 21st century dictionary is used “women generally: the female sex.” (1631) Wikipedia assert that, “discrimination against women is the attitude and beliefs in relation to the female gender that they are less important, such beliefs and attitudes are of social nature and do not normally carry any legal consequences.”

The Culture and Discrimination against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s the Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

With these definitions, we can, therefore, define culture and discrimination against women as the cultural practices against the female folks that support men. Discrimination against women has become customs passed from generations to generations. In African, many cultural practices are against women. Women are beaten by husbands and are always blamed for not being able to produce children. Even when it is not confirmed that they are responsible for marital problems, they suffer from those problems. A married woman could be replaced at any time by their husbands because culture supports that men could marry many women.

Female children are not always given the best upbringing; they are trained in the kitchen, instead of school. Male children are brought up well because they are known to be the people who will take their family from generations to generation. Therefore, with the use of Buchi Emecheta’s work, The Joys of Motherhood, many discriminatory acts against woman will be analyzed; to signify the cultural practices discriminating against women. Also, through the works of Chimamanda Adichie; Purple Hibiscus, discrimination against women will be identified. Cultural practices discriminating against women have been on for long and needs to stop.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

The level of injustice and negative portrayal of female discrimination in the African society and African literary work have to lead to a clash between male and female writers

There is also a problem of literary representation of female characters as “second class citizens” who are mostly being denied of their individual and naturally rights.

Equally, in African literary work, female characters are mostly victims of discrimination as an appendage to male characters. Therefore, this research work seeks to investigate the manner in which female children are discriminated in African society as a result of culture.

1.3      Purpose of the Study

The study intends to examine culture and discrimination against women, using two carefully selected novels as primary data, Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus. Using radical Feminism to show that women should be treated equally as men and that gender differences is no excuse for discrimination. This research work aimed at bringing out how cultural practices affect women, the pain it brings and the survival of women.

1.4      Significance of the Study

This study is significant in the following ways;

  1. it reveals some cultural practices that affect women
  2. the study reveals the root cause of this cultural practices

iii.       the study also helps to correct the negative portrayal of women as a second class citizen in African literature.

  1. Equally, this work helps to bring liberation to women in African societies.
  2. it will also helps to boost love and unity among men and women and possibly put an end to the clash between men and women.


The Culture and Discrimination against Women in Buchi Emecheta’s the Joys of Motherhood and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

1.5 Research Methodology

This research work intends to carry out an investigation on culture and discrimination against women, through the proper analysis in two carefully selected novels Buchi Emecheta and Chimamanda Adichie: The Joys of Motherhood and Purple Hibiscus respectively. In analyzing these books, radical feminism will be used.

Finally, the researcher will use the two novels as a primary source of information, while sources like the internet will be used for more collection of data.

1.6      Objectives of Study

  1. The objective of this research work is to specifically ascertain why women are being discriminated in African society using Buchi Emecheta and Chimamanda Adichie: The Joys of Motherhood and Purple Hibiscus
  2. To examine and investigate how culture affects women in African fiction.

iii.       To also examine the effect of culture and discrimination against women.

1.7      Scope and Limitation

The researcher finds it difficult to bring out so many cultural practices discriminating against women, as a result of limited time coupled with financial constrain available for the study.

As such, this work will analyze culture and discrimination against women only in two selected novels. The research will also limit its scope on some materials from the library, internet, and the two selected novels: Buchi Emecheta and Chimamanda Adichie: The Joys of Motherhood and Purple Hibiscus respectively.

1.8      Bio-Data of Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta, the author of The Joys of Motherhood was born in 1944 of Ibuza parentage but brought up in Lagos. In 1982 she became a graduate of sociology from the London University before coming to the University of Calabar, where she was appointed a senior research fellow in the department of English and literary studies. Buchi won the 1978 Rock Campbell award. Her novels have so much impact that she was described by Sunday times journalist as  ’a natural born water’ when she published Second-class Citizen.

1.8.1 Bio-Data of Chimamanda  Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on 15thSeptember 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children born to Igbo parent. While the family’s ancestral hometown is Abba in Anambra State, Chimamanda grew up in Nsukka in a house formerly occupied by a Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. Chimamanda father, who is now retired, worked at the University of Nigeria, located in Nsukka. He was the first professor of statistics and later became Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University. Her mother was the first female registrar at the same institution.

Chimamanda completed here secondary education at the University school, Nsukka receiving several academic prizes. She went for Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria but dropped out after only one and a half year. During this period, she edited ‘The Compass’, a magazine run by the university’s Catholic medical students. At the age of nineteen, Chimamanda left for the United States of America. She gained a scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years and went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Chimamanda graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2001  and then completed a master’s degree in creative writing at John Hopkins University, Baltimore. It is during her senior year at Eastern Connecticut State University that she started working on her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, which was released in October 2003. The book has received wide critical acclaim it. It was shortlisted for the Orange Fiction Prize (2004) and was awarded the Common Wealth Writer’s prize for the best first book (2005). Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (also the title of one of her short stories) is a set before and during the Biafra war. It was published in August 2006 in the United Kingdom and in September 2006 in the United State, Purple Hibiscus, released in Nigeria.

Chimamanda was a holder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic years, and earned an M.A in African studies from Yale University in 2008. Her collection of short stories, The things around your Neck, was published in 2009. She won prized like the O Henry prize stories collection 2003, Caine prize (2002) for African writing, the Orange prize for fiction in the United Kingdom. Her work has been selected by the Common Wealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC short story Awards.

Originally posted on July 16, 2021 @ 6:48 am

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