Culture And Discrimination Against Women In Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus And Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen


ABSTRACT: The main thrust of this work was on Culture And Discrimination Against Women In Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus And Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen. Based on the analysis of the two selected novels and opinion of critics in the review of related literature, the study revealed that over the years, the major challenges facing the female folk in African societies is culture and discrimination, and unfair treatment as portrayed in the novels above.

Culture And Discrimination Against Women In Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus And Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen

The study also revealed that, African cultural practices discriminates the females and favour the male ones as critically examine in the two selected novels for this research work. It also hoped that an awareness of such practices will eventually eradicate the social inequalities that are engendered by such practice in African society. Finally, the study also made some recommendations, female children should not be seen as commodities to be sold to earn money and female children who are not mature should not be send for marriage.  





1.1  Background to the Study

The background to this research work is to examine how culture and discrimination affect women in African society. This makes women face many cultural practices to denigrate the image of women in Nigeria and African societies at large.

Traditionally, male and female children right from birth, they are assigned different roles, values and status by the society where they are born. In African societies, preference for sons neglect, deprivation and discrimination treatment of daughters to the detriment of their physical and mental health. Male preference adversely affects the females through inequitable allocation of food, education, health, care and disparity frequently reinforced throughout their life style. Due to the great importance placed by culture on male children, mothers  become desperate to have male children for their husbands and to regain their position in their homes. This preferences begins early in life and professional training is rescued exclusively for male children, while the female children are given out in marriage at the early age, and in such marriage, females have little power and sense of self-determination.

Research have shown that those female children who are marry at the early age they are always experiencing domestic violence and  often have little motivation  to their families. In the same vein, they are always having legal rights and their rights are always taken for granted (5). This assertion makes Aristotle to declare that men are born to rule women just as the soul, women is superior rules the body. Men by nature are superior and the women are inferior, and one rules others while the other is ruled, this principle is necessity to all mankind.

Aristotle further asserts that:

Women are inferior to men as regard to sexes, the males are by nature superior and the females inferior, the males are the rulers and the females are the subjects. And men and women are naturally different by physically and mentally; women are more prone to despondency, more void of shame or self-respect, more false of speech, more deceptive and of having of better memory (10).


On the other hand, Emecheta describes the penalties on women not able to produce male children. The punishment is to drive such a woman or replace with another woman, also, such woman are seen as incomplete. For instance, Emecheta portrays this instance in her novel, The Joys of Motherhood through the life of Adaku, Nnaife’s wife who has not been able to produce male children for her husband. Just as one of he chiefs says to Nnu-Ego thus:

You are the mother of the male children that made him a man. If Adaku dies today, her people, not her husband’s people will come for her body. It is not same with you (159).

This statement  have proved that male children are preferred to female ones and having male children make Nnu-Ego to be respected in her husband’s house. In another instance, Nnu-Ego as a mother struggles to provide for her children. She directs all her attention to her sons, there is no provision for the females to go to school. She says:

All I have is five pounds mama Abby advised  me to save two years ago, if I use that now, how will your brother, Oshia continues his schooling and what will happen to Adim? Little Nnamdie is growing too. Oh, this war, this war …. Nobody tells you anything (163).

Emecheta has portrays Nnu-Ego as an Africa woman who takes her sons as the only ones who can take proper care of her family. The culture of Ibuza as portrays by the author is that women should stay at home and satisfy men Nnu-Ego says, “But you are girls. They are boys. You have to sell to put them in a good position in life, so that they will be able to look after the family” (176).

Consequently, there are above explanation forms this research work on culture and discrimination against women in Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen.

1.2  Statement of the problem

This research work is embarked in order to state how cultured and discrimination against women affect the women negatively in the societies; that they live as exposed in the novels under investigation  in the project.

Culture And Discrimination Against Women In Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus And Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen

1.3  Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research work is to investigate some cultural practices in our societies and how the culture discriminates against women in the society, with the works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen.

1.4  Significance of the study

This study is significant to the entire African societies to reconstruct and eradicate the way women are treated because of obnoxious culture against the women. This study will equally enlighten students of English and literature on how women are oppressed and discriminated because of culture.

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