Obscured Feminism in a Man of the People

Published: 2021-08-15 10:15:08
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A significant number of critics across the world claim that Chinua Achebe does not represent women as active participants in his fictional communities he has been using across his works of literature. These criticism neglects women’s contestation as male dominate both political and aesthetic as employed in the novel A Man of the People. The book foregrounds the political foibles of the unreliable narrator while overlooking how his traumatic encounter with the female agency has shaped in the narrative. The book is set in an African country during post-independence where Achebe has succeeded in making his work fictional and sound real as well. The deviation into a description of national policies is due to a profound inability to accept women petition for multiple forms of gratitude. Therefore,  A Man of the People explores obstructions to African feminism as well as sexual politics.  The writer foregrounds homosocial context between Odili, the narrator and chief who displaces central preoccupation where women are misapprehended and their dismissal to the participation of national politics. The following essay discusses the role of women in the society based on the Chinua Achebe’s novel a man of the people how he portrays women in a different perception.
The book puts a lot of emphasis on women’s political subordination and aesthetic misrepresentation which emerges early in a political event. The removal of Edna from the politics and introduction of Odili into the political life reverberates all through the novel. Chief Nanga decides to sponsor Edna to go through education process thus being prepared as Parlor wife. Edna lacks mandate express her on who to marry; thus she agrees to be a second wife married following the native laws and customs. Therefore, women are demoted to the authority of the customary where they don’t have any freedom to play any role in the society. Odili, the narrator, rehearses that women should be pressed into reformulated schemes where he describes Edna as a convert girl and a loose woman ( p.35).
Achebe has significantly displayed Woman as a person with good advice. Women are always omitted from public discourse or are either allowed under restrictive forms of presentation. From the novel, Edna’s intervention and her violent expulsion re-constellates her omission during their first political event as a kind of violence. It is this transfer from interruption to violence marks a different order of communication where actions of women cannot be discounted. Moreover, the restriction of participation by women it’s clear when Edna fails the intervention is explicitly compared to mamas intervention.  It is evidenced in the novel when Odili the narrator quarrels with his father at the time when his plans to marry another wife, Mama. He says that  Mama has persuaded him to negotiate for peace which can only be achieved through going down on his knees to ask forgiveness and therefore, making a peace offering of a bottle of schnapps, two bottles of White Horse and a bottle of Martell (pg.36).  Therefore, women do not interrupt, but they intervene which is a dispute to secure peace among men. Marshal Achebe’s female character has been used to respond to gender omission and obstruction which interrupts male attempts at hegemonic control.
Achebe portrays woman as a weak, humiliated and oppressed person in the society. Women contestation of the dominant social representation greatly addresses the construction of women sexuality and their education as well as maternal mortality. However, Woman is portrayed as an intelligent and educated person where Women such as Eunice in the novel are an economist by profession and Mrs. Akilo; a lawyer significantly differs from Edna and Mrs. Nanga precisely because the former do not education which is shortened by marriage. The other women verify how schooling has modified their life to fit wedding plans. Chinua Achebe redirects to the characteristics which define marriage of Edna, and Mrs. Nanga. For example, Mrs. Nanga was quickly forced to end education and marry chief Nanga. She is also humiliated and oppressed by her husband, Chief Nanga. Mrs, Nanga has no say over her husband’s behavior of being a womanizer. Elsie, Jean, and Agnes are easily convinced to make love with Chief Nanga ( p. 38).
In addition, women are portrayed as mere objects which cannot communicate using the English language. Instead, they translate it from the vernacular language.  Mrs. Nanga is a simple woman character who becomes complex in her conversational closure. However, termination of women education for marriage does not make them passive cultures who do not understand the culture of heroic representation as well as the materiality of power that upholds it. Women’s tends to mock these cultures financially where Mrs. Nanga criticize the education system while Edna exploits it. Throughout the novel A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe, Edna significantly manipulates Odili together with the men around her through playing damsel. Edna’s movements which are between placement and rejection of female child in the society vulnerable appear in several scenes of the novel. For instance, odili warning her against polygamous marriage when Edna says polygamous marriage is a way of a woman, but odili sadly told her that an educated girl should not say such rubbish ( p.27).
Women are not supposed to do the artistic works of cementing allegiances to the new national state in the society, but they are called to do soothing sentimental labor in the times of crisis. They are used for emotional energy on the national stage which is evidenced in the novel A Man of the People where Esther is selected to appear during the selection of Politicians widow as a cabinet minister during a political crisis.
To sum up, this novel constraints entry of women into the political leadership which in return suggests for the repositioning among Achebe’s criticism? It is a satire of political culture where it is directed to an inability of men to engage in women participation in politics. Moreover, women are not imagined they can play a significant role in the policy, and that’s why people take politics as the only aspirants. The diverse models of sexualized women and the political women contextualized the evidence preoccupied where Achebe diversifies the women models and the contest which emerges between the internationally circulating and the locally produced ideologies. These historical cases manifest the semiotic codes through which actors represent women in national politics as Achebe explores these systems through the novel dissertation. The book foregrounds the political foibles of the unreliable narrator while overlooking how his traumatic encounter with the female agency has shaped in the narrative. The book is set in an African country during post-independence where Achebe has succeeded in making his work fictional and sound real as well. Thus the issue of feminism is central to the novel.

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