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Goubali Talon, Odile (2006) The changing faces of marriage in selected works by Anglophone and Francophone African women writers. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis explores representations of marriage in the works of Anglophone and Francophone African women writers. It presents a trajectory of such representations from the mid-1960s to the 1990s, and examines the various social, ideological and literary influences that have shaped these narratives of marriage. The introduction contextualises the study within existing critical scholarship on African women's writing and representations of marriage. From the evaluation of this literature, it identifies and states the thesis's problem and assumptions. It explores various theoretical perspectives on gender, feminism and nationalism as frameworks for analysis in the thesis. The body of the thesis makes connections between different contexts and periods of women's writing and between the different works of individual women writers. The first chapter focuses on the early works of Ama Ata Aidoo and Mariama Bâ, two pioneer writers from Anglophone and Francophone Africa. It examines the subject of marriage in Aidoo's play, Anowa in the context of transition and change in nineteenth century Ghana. It explores Mariama Bâ's So Long A Letter as a narrative of decolonisation in which marriage plays a crucial part in delineating the betrayals of decolonisation. In the second chapter, the thesis's focus on the later works of these pioneer writers aims at exploring the impact of social change and new ideas on the way each writer handles the subject of marriage. The chapter draws out connections between the two texts and considers the significance of their respective Anglophone and Francophone contexts. The third chapter expands the theme of marriage to cover specific political contexts. It focuses on women's representations of marriage in colonial worlds as in Tsitsi Dangaremgba's Nervous Conditions and in the oppressive context of apartheid as in Khadi Fall's Senteurs d'Hivemages. In its fourth chapter, the thesis examines motherhood as an important dimension of the wider theme of marriage. It focuses on Buchi Emecheta's Head Above Water and The Joys of Motherhood, and explores the relationship between her autobiographical writing and her novel. And the thesis's last chapter tackles issues of displacement and gender as it examines marriage and migration in Emecheta's Kehinde and Calixthe Beyala's Loukoum: The Little Prince of Belleville. The thesis concludes by drawing out the different ways in which social and linguistic contexts, changing world situations and varying perspectives have produced similar and contrasting insights and literary forms in the writing of African women between the 1960s and 1990s.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:08

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