The Marxist Formula In Emecheta's The Joys Of Motherhood

5054 words - 20 pages

The Marxist Formula in Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood

"Marx states that we are truly free only when '[people] place themselves in a position to control their own historical destiny'"(Slaughter 25).

Britain's imperial colonization of Africa triggered vast change within the tribal civilizations thriving on the continent prior to European occupation. For the Africans, these changes altered every level of their culture: language, religion, as well as ancient tribal customs. But one of the most devastating aspects of the British colonization in Africa was the European economic system: capitalism. Capitalism left many Africans reeling from its destructive impact on tribal economies. Nowhere is this more evident than in The Joys of Motherhood, Buchi Emecheta's tale of the British occupation of Nigeria in the 1930s and 1940s. Emecheta's skillfully constructed story uses various literary devices to develop empathy for her characters suffering at the hands of the English. However, underlying these literary techniques -- and boosting the storyís political objectives -- exists a Marxist economic analysis of the colonial system. Emecheta's Marxist examination provides an outline for illustrating how imperialistic capitalism alienated Africans from their culture, and from one another, causing irreparable damage to the social fabric of Nigeria. The Marxist argument in The Joys of Motherhood demonstrates how the root of the characters' downfall is the socioeconomic shift from the tribal economic paradigm to the exploitative, capitalist system used by the British.

However, Emecheta also criticizes her tribal culture's oppressive hierarchy, illustrating the Ibo treatment of slaves and of women. So although European colonialism is the catalyst of modern Africaís exploitation, Emecheta points out that a significant level of class-oriented oppression existed in African culture long before the British, the French, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the Germans ever arrived in Africa. Emecheta criticizes European colonialism using three approaches: (1) capitalism's separation of worker and her/his product, (2) capitalism's use of organized religion to reinforce the dominant economic paradigm, and (3) Britain's conscription of Africans into military service for the colonial state during the Second World War. Emecheta reveals the exploitative and destructive power of capitalism by creating characters who sacrifice their identities and their culture to survive under a colonial system; and the only way to survive within the imperialistic structure is to excel within the capitalist organization. To accurately examine the oppressed nature of the female characters in The Joys of Motherhood, however, we must first briefly examine their tribal culture. It is also necessary to define Ibo culture in economic terms so that we have a benchmark against which to compare changes that occur within the characters as they move into the capitalist system.

The Ibo...

Find Another Essay On The Marxist Formula in Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood

The Joys of Home Canning Essay

1606 words - 6 pages I wiped the sides of the last jar of strawberry freezer jam, screwed on the lid, and stepped back to admire my handiwork. It didn’t matter that my shoes stuck to the floor, or that the countertop was spattered with red stains from the strawberry juice. I didn’t even care that I would have to shower in order to remove the sugary stickiness from my arms. The jam looked heavenly and I could hardly wait to slather a heaping spoonful on a thick

Motherhood in terms of the “Black Culture”

2265 words - 10 pages mother figure in your life. Rather it had been your mother, auntie, grandmother, or great-grandmother someone held that maternal role. The woman who was there for you when you felt like you had no one else on your side. Once a child is brought into the picture a mother goes through what some may call one of the most precious stages, Motherhood. Mothers are the glue that bond everything together even when she feel like she may fall apart. Mothers are

The Power of Motherhood

1812 words - 8 pages people around me. I have learned many lessons in the past year and nine months. My life has ultimately been changed by making the decision to let the lessons of motherhood impact my patience level, who I am, and who I am going to be. I am amazed every day how much my life has changed since having my son. I find myself constantly wanting to improve myself from the patience I continue to acquire; to the role model I try to be. I have come to

Compare and Contrast Essay: Things Fall Apart and Joys of Motherhood

650 words - 3 pages In both Things Fall Apart and The Joys of Motherhood, it is illustrated that the "modernization" that the British brought to Nigeria was not progress. Modernization is not something that can just be imposed and occur overnight; it must run its own course. The British tried to impress their customs onto Nigeria and considered it modernization. When Great Britain finally did pull out of Nigeria, they left it in much worse condition then when they

The feminist and Marxist interpretations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

1024 words - 4 pages Marxist readers since it reflects upon the role of women and social hierarchy that was present in the Victorian era. In the view of a feminist, one may interpret Alice’s character as a rebel, or a slave. Alice is perceived to be rebellious against the stereotypical women during the Victorian era, when women lacked freedom and rights. Her curiosity breaks free of the common woman into an ideal model, boldly opening themselves to society. Alice

The western formula

1337 words - 5 pages signifies a different perspective to these standards. Crane's thoughts for the use of the Western formula are just approaches towards the west, from the introductory setting to the coarse grin one cowboy would make towards another. These do not in fact relate to Cawelti's Western formula. Crane's deviation from the formula western signifies his deeper approach towards issues such as human existence and morality-the ethical code that we follow for

The Western Formula

1307 words - 5 pages signifies a different perspective to these standards. Crane's thoughts for the use of the Western formula are just approaches towards the west, from the introductory setting to the coarse grin one cowboy would make towards another. These do not in fact relate to Cawelti's Western formula. Crane's deviation from the formula western signifies his deeper approach towards issues such as human existence and morality—the ethical code that we

The Formula for Success

763 words - 3 pages have and can become successful. Gladwell wrote his book for all to read because he wanted to disprove the popular belief that people become successful all by themselves; that is, without help from others or outside factors. Gladwell’s effective use of stories of the lives of famous and successful people in Outliers, coupled with his prolific use of logical appeals, or facts and statistics, enables him to easily explain his opinions while

Motherhood in Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

1778 words - 7 pages Motherhood, in its simplest definition is the state of being a mother; however, it isn't as clear cut and emotionless as the definition implies. Motherhood holds a different meaning for everyone. For some it is a positive experience, for others it's negative. Different situations change motherhood and the family unit. Slavery is an institution that twists those ideas into something hardly recognizable. The Master and the Mistress are

Motherhood in the Life of James Gatz: Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

3772 words - 16 pages The Greaty Gatsby is not only Fitzgerald's best work, but it is one of the greatest pieces of literature to ever have been published in the United States. This all time classic offers an accurate depiction of the Roaring Twenties, as it exposes the decadence and loss of morality hidden beneath the luxury of the times. Popular interpretations present the novel as a critical review of class issues and the social situation existent in the 1920s, as

Sports Broadcast Analysis of NBA Game: Use of the Televised Sports Manhood Formula in Sports Broadcasting

2115 words - 8 pages sports manhood formula introduced by Michael Messner in his book Taking the Field: Women, Men, and Sports. The main themes Messner gives as his televised sports manhood formula are: white males are the voice of authority, sport is a man's world, men are foregrounded in commercials, women are sexy props or prizes for successful sports performances or consumption choices, whites are foregrounded in commercials, aggressive players get the prize, boys

Similar Essays

Buchi Emecheta's The Joys Of Motherhood As An African Feminist Text

3041 words - 12 pages Buchi Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood as an African Feminist Text Upon my first reading of Buchi Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood, I immediately rejoiced--in this novel, I had finally encountered an account of a female protagonist in colonial and postcolonial African life. In my hands rested a work that gave names and voices to the silent, forgotten mothers and co-wives of novels by male African writers such as Chinua Achebe. Emecheta

The Joys Of Fishing Essay

1850 words - 7 pages into the boat, I get to experience the excitement of reeling in one fish after the other in hopes of landing a trophy. Although planning a fishing trip can be overwhelming, and catching a fish may seem impossible, I enjoy all the preparation and strategy that goes into each fishing trip. Going fishing is not just sitting in a boat and casting a rod and reel hoping that something will bite. There is a lot of preparation and strategy that goes

The Joys Of Winter Essay

855 words - 3 pages A cold, depressing, long period of time where people are upset and broke from the cost of happiness; runny noses, cheeks rosy and never feeling dressed warm enough: Is it really the most wonderful time of the year? In my eyes, it is. Winter to me; is something completely different. A time where you wake up snuggled up with the heat blaring, a time where everything around you takes your breath away and a time where what you have is cherished

The Joys Of Having Children Essay

789 words - 3 pages into the world naturally. Many of these women tend to momentarily forget the pain after seeing their baby for the first time. And just in case the pain comes back after the baby is whisked off to the nursery, most women tend to forget about it after a few months. As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. Another reason that people tend to turn away from being parents is the thought that they may be failures. How can you fail at something if