The Theme of Alienation in Buchi Emecheta’s the Bride Price and the Slave Girl

The Theme of Alienation in Buchi Emecheta’s the Bride Price and the Slave Girl
The Theme of Alienation in Buchi Emecheta’s the Bride Price and the Slave Girl

Abstract: This project work examines The Theme of Alienation in Buchi Emecheta’s the Bride Price and the Slave Girl. From the author’s thematic concerns and opinion of critics in the review of the related literature, they has portrays that African cultural practices deprived dominates and discriminates the female folks. The study has also revealed that social norms project  women for being  use only for precaution in the society and any women who dares to act against is labeled a writer. The study also discussed that African tradition takes female children inferior to male ones as seen in the two selected novels under study. The study further shown that, early marriage and bride price is another African cultural issue that is affecting the female folks.

The Theme of Alienation in Buchi Emecheta’s the Bride Price and the Slave Girl

The study there recommended that female children should be seen as inferior to the male ones therefore there should be equal treatment for both sex in the society for the betterment of the society.



1.1       Background to the study

Alienation is the act of making someone or a group of people feel that they do not belong to a particular group. In the society toady, the male gender occupy most seats at the religious setting where males are mostly the evangelist, revered and the opinion of the female does not matter because, it is counted as being rebellious. For instance, Zaynab Alkali’s The Still-Born, Faker has maltreated by her husband and her inlaws because she had just a girl child. Therefore, alienation can be seen from the attitude of Faku to his wife and her child.

In Africa traditional beliefs, women lack freedom. Rather expression and discrimination have been against the female gender. For instance, there is an ancestral belief of life after death and so this belief is seen in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood is where Nnu Ego is seen as rein-carnation of the slave girl who was betrayed and killed by the eldest son of Agunwa during the letters burial. The people of Ibuser believed that when anyone dies, he should be buried with his materials and a good slave, this is because it is believed that he would need those things in the next world. According to the eldest son of Agunwa. So my mother does not even deserve a decent burial. Now we are now to send her slave down with her just because this is beautiful (23).

In some societies in Africa, only the male children are counted in a family during census, because they believe female cannot stay long in the family, they will get married. Some husbands count their wives as possessions. In most cases, in Christian religion, women are admonished to be submissive to their husbands; doing only that which their husbands want them to does or approves of. They must be very obedient and submissive; they must obey their husbands at all times and never refuse them anything even if it is not really convenient for the wives.

Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ so let wives be to their own husbands in everything. The result that women were put behind men as their submissive helpers (servants).

Feminism as an ideology later, pined a fertile around in Africa in the 1960’s Obioma  Nnaemeka established the fundamental purpose of the discussion when she assert that feminism provides the opportunity of evaluating attitude and misconception about women which have buttressed all along both by African culture and the misogynous tradition of European colonial masters (7).

African feminist writers like Acholonu Catherine behave that women shared not be seen as subjects to decorate the homes but they should be regarded as major contributions to the destiny of the nation without really affecting the roles as mothers and wives at home in her article titled “Buchi Emecheta” Acholou says women should no longer be decorative accessories, objects to be moved about, and or claimed with promises. They should see themselves as nation’s primary fundamental roots, from which all else grows and blossoms. Women must be encouraged to takes a keen interest in the destiny of the country (6).

What Emecheta tries to expose is the injustice and alienation of traditional, male oriented African social customs that relate women to a life of child-bearing and oppression of men to women. She further portrays alienation as an isolation and uneasiness in the life.

1.2       Statement of the problem     

One of the problems women faced in Africa today is the revision of some African cultural practices that denigrate the image and status of women in the society. Itself in neglect, deprivation, and discrimination treatment of daughters to the detriment of their physical and mental health. The male preference adversely affects female through inequitable allocation of food, education and health care, a disparity frequently reinforced through life; this preference is seen as a result of alienation of female children to male children in our society.

Alienation is one of the problems that is affecting women in African society as portrays by Emecheta’s The Bride Piece and The Slave Girl. It is a sense and lack of belonging.

1.3       Purpose of the study

The purpose of this work is to discuss the theme of alienation in Buchi Emecheta’s The Slave Girl and The Bride Price relating the problems of alienation to our contemporary society.

The Theme of Alienation in Buchi Emecheta’s the Bride Price and the Slave Girl

1.4       Significance of the study         

The study shall be significant to female children by portraying how their right has been denied as a matter if sex and gender. The study will also be significant to students of English and literature of getting more knowledge from feminist writer for a better tomorrow.

1.5       Objectives of the study

This research intends to examine the various alienation in Emecheta’s The Slave Girl and The Bride Price.

  1. It examines the way women have been isolated and alienation in the society.
  2. The study equally looks into the various ways of disillusionment, humiliation and alienation women are facing in the various marital homes with the help of Emecheta’s The Slave Girl and The Bride Price.
  3. To examine and portrays the effect of alienation on women.
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