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LANGUAGE OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN AFRICAN LITERARY WORKS (A STUDY OF PURPLE HIBISCUS AND YELLOW-YELLOW)


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ABSTRACT

 

This project basically examine the language of gender discrimination in African literary works with special reference to PURPLE HIBISCUS and YELLOW-YELLOW.   In the past few years, women folk have been rendered invisible or stereotyped by their male counterparts.  As a result, women voices are not heard, they are relegated to the background.

Gender is a central organizing principle of societies and often governs the processes of production and reproduction, consumption, and distribution. Gender roles are the 'social definition' of women and men, and vary among different societies and cultures, classes and ages, and during different periods  in history. They vary greatly across the Nile Basin and sub-Saharan Africa at large. Gender-specific roles and responsibilities are often conditioned by household structure, access to resources, political  stability, and ecological conditions. Gender research in rural development is therefore essential in poverty reduction and sustainability of development interventions. With the feminist movement, there is a fight for female emancipation and as a result, the feminist rose up for equal gender in African society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                          Page

Title Page                                                                                          i

Certification                                                                                                ii

Dedication                                                                                         iii

Acknowledgement         s                                                                           iv

Abstract                                                                                            v

Table of Contents                                                                             vi

 

CHAPTER ONE   INTRODUCTION                                

1.1            Background of the study                                                                   1

1.2            Statement of problem                                                              2

1.3            Objective of study                                                                             3

1.4            Significance of study                                                               3

1.5            Scope of the study                                                                            4

1.6            Research methodology                                                            4

1.7            Definition of terms                                                                            4

 

CHAPTER TWO –LITERATURE REVIEW                                 

2.1     Language use in African Literature                                          6

2.2     Gender matters in Africa                                                                   8

2.3     Gender Discrimination                                                            11

2.4     Women empowerment                                         .                  13

2.5     Gender equity                                                                          15

2.6     Women human rights                                                              17

2.7     Historical background of women                                            19

2.8     Emerging issues                                                                       27

2.9     Feminist belief                                                                         28

2.10   Normative and descriptive components                                  29

2.11   African view about feminist                                                    32

2.12   Feminist contributions                                                            35

 

CHAPTER THREE – BACKGROUND ANALYSIS OF THE CASE STUDY

3.1     Background of Purple Hibiscus                                                        42

3.2            Language of gender discrimination                                          44

3.3            Background of Yellow-yellow                                                47

3.4            Language of Gender                                                                48

3.5            Comparison of the novels                                                       48

 

CHAPTER FOUR  - SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

4.1     Summary                                                                                 49

4.2     Recommendations                                                                             50

4.3     Conclusion                                                                              51

REFERENCES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1            BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Language is a means of communication among human beings.  There are further classifications of language into formal or informal verbal or non-verbal, written or unwritten. Chafe (1996) defines language as a system which mediates in a highly complex way between the universe of meanings and universe sounds.  Chomsky and Halle (2000) see language as a system of rules which determines the relation of sound to meaning for infinity of sentence for that language. 

Language is purely human and non-instructive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols.  Language is considered by other linguists as a vehicle of culture.  J. F. Weredu (1994) asserts that language is uniquely human and this appears to be the most important distinctions.

Further still, there are some characteristics of language, which make the meaning, function and mode clearer.  Nobody can deny that we live in an era of rapid and radical change which will inevitably affect the position and status of women, even in the darkest part or most backward corner of the globe.  It is therefore in humanity’s interest to encourage rather than resist a change.  Today, urbanization, advance in technology and medicine provide women with unparalleled opportunities to reach out for self fulfillment and more than ever before, women have the ability to control their own fertility and need not continue to procreate until they reach menopause as was the case in the past.

1.2            STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

In defining the problems of this research, it would be good to appraise the role of women in the society.  “Women” is an indispensable subject in a progressive society.  Behind a successful man, there is a resourcefully woman. The society remains adamant where women do not exist.  Women are really good companions and partners in progress; not the fair weather type. Women try to appease the heart of their male counterparts, they try to manage the miserable conditions of the undesirable men.  At last, the whole attributes go to the men (Elechi Amadi) while the blame bounces back on the women, poor women yet they preserve.  Women your attributes are in definite, your status is worthy of emulations.

In Achebe’s earliest works such as Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God, he portrays women’s life as revolving round the kitchen, the bedroom and the labour room.  Male children are discouraged not to sit with them so as not to get polluted with their feminine ideas.  But the word ‘women’ does not mean inferiority.

The women hardly knew anything that is not thought to be important, they could only imagine what was inside ancestral but they were allowed to see the inside even though they did the painting.  When Akuekue’s bride price (dowry) is to be paid, the men did all the negotiations while the women only brought in the food afterwards.  Achebe’s recent works like Girls of War portray women as heroines.   

1.3            OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

This research aims at identifying the oppression of woman in Africa.  With this awareness came an attempt to evaluate the ways in which women have been portrayed in African literature which coincided with the rise of women.  Liberation and feminist movement gave the impetus to re-evaluate the role of woman in Africa societies and in literatures.

This research paper is intended to enumerate the roles of African women in politics and oppressive conditions of women in Africa with a view of identifying the problems that have been militating against ways of solving the problems and to highlights the results of the finding up to date especially as it concerns the use of language by African literary writers when female issues are being discussed.

1.4            SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

In carrying out this study, it is hope that it would correct the mistake that women are just sub-human as being portrayed by their male counterparts but they are real human and indeed substantial in qualities.  The findings of this study would then be of great importance and benefit to the government, NGOs, African patriarchs and traditionalist.  

1.5            SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study will be limited to African women in that it will study two African novels written by African female writers. This limitation is due to time factor and besides, the various roles of women are similar, if not the same all over the world.

1.6     RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This shall be purely descriptive in nature and cross-sectional by type.  The cross-sectional approach through field study is viewed as quite appropriate for this study as the sample elements will cut across the market women, working class and housewives and other female characters available in the novels.

1.6            DEFINITION OF TERM

Gender discrimination:           The systematic, unfavourable treatment of individuals on the basis of their gender, which denies them rights, opportunities or resources

Language:                               A means of communication among human beings

African literature:                   Different languages and various genres, ranging from oral literature to literature written in colonial language

Gender matters:                      Distinctive patterns of ideas, beliefs, and norms which characterise the way of life and relations of a society or group within a society

Culture:                                  Culture is sometimes interpreted narrowly as ‘custom’ or ‘tradition’, and assumed to be natural and unchangeable.

 

 

 

 

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