Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Arts


In addressing the myths of past and present social and familial structures and hierarchies. Post-Colonial Literatures are forced to confront complex assertions of identity, evolved through an inheritance shaped by both traditional and foreign influence. In a study of Buchi Emecheta' s novels, The Slave Girl, The Joys of Motherhood and Second Class Citizen, a tension is thus seen to emerge within the African heroine, between “her communally bred sense of herself as an African, and her feminist aspirations for autonomy and self-realization as a woman" (Frank, 1987, 45). Though the female protagonists of these narratives are placed within different historical moments of the colonial and post-colonial experience, they are nonetheless linked by a common reality- all curiously participate in their own debilitating oppression. Whilst this implies an inherent form of African female passivity, all aspirations towards self-determination are not automatically repressed. This thesis thus explores certain social, cultural and ideological aspects of the Ibo society portrayed in Emecheta' s works. It goes on to look at how these factors simultaneously contribute to and prevent the sustained manifestation of rage against tradition in The Slave Girl and The Joys of Motherhood. In Second-Class Citizen, where the protagonist achieves a degree of self-realization, the thesis examines the factors which appear to have assisted in this progress.