THE DOUBLE OTHERNESS OF BLACK WOMEN: BUCHI EMECHETA?S SECOND-CLASS CITIZEN

Abstract

Author(s): Sezgi OZTOP HANER

This study examines Buchi Emecheta’s motives in portraying the otherness of Igbo women through her novel Second-Class Citizen (1974). In this novel, Emecheta presents African women’s experience of otherness within a broad context of social inequalities resulting from monolithic and unyielding societal construct in the West and in the Third World. In fact, Buchi Emecheta is a marginalized African woman writer crafting fictionalized autobiography of the experience of determined first-generation diasporic mother in Second-Class Citizen while living in exile far from her home of origin. By depicting the bodily and migratory experiences of the African woman and her sense of self, Emecheta reassigns previous generalizations of “Mother Africa”. At this point, the figure of determined mother comes to the fore as a strategy of resistance to cultural expectations imposed on women or established customs as being stultifying to women, preventing self-development throughout the novel. Accordingly, in Second-Class Citizen, the mother figure is motivated by the desire both to change the community and the societal construction of citizen in London and to achive discursive agency

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