Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Joys of Motherhood, by Buchi Emecheta

I very much enjoyed reading The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta and recommend it for our Global Women class. While set in Nigeria from 1934 onward and as such historically grounded, Emecheta asks questions that we still ponder today: are women only valued if they can have (male) children? is motherhood a woman's most important task? what happens to a mother when her children depart? what about women who do not have children?

Some course-related topics include: virginity, bride price, son-preference, polygamy, lack of education and health care for women, poverty, informal labor, tradition and culture, and colonialism.

A particularly powerful quote:

"God, when will you create a woman who will be fulfilled in herself, a full human being, not anybody's appendage?" she prayed desperately. "After all, I was born alone, and I shall die alone. What have I gained from all this? ... But who made the law that we should not hope in our daughters? ... Until we change all of this, it is still a man's world, which women will always help to build" (p. 210).

The Joys of Motherhood

Here is a great study guide from Paul Brians at Washington State University.

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