- Friday, 14th July 2023
- Literature in English (Objective & Prose) – 10:00am – 12:15pm
Adah Ofili is the protagonist of Buchi Emecheta’s novel “Second Class Citizen.” She is a Nigerian woman who faces numerous challenges and struggles as she navigates through life in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Adah’s character is portrayed as resilient, determined, and ambitious despite the cultural and societal limitations placed upon her.
In the novel, Adah is depicted as a strong-willed and intelligent woman who desires an education and a better life for herself. However, she faces numerous obstacles that impede her progress. Adah comes from a patriarchal society where women are expected to conform to traditional gender roles and are often denied educational opportunities. Despite this, she persists in her pursuit of knowledge and manages to attend school against her father’s wishes.
When Adah moves to the UK with her husband, Francis, her role as a second-class citizen becomes even more pronounced. She faces racial discrimination, poverty, and the challenges of raising a family while trying to secure a stable job. Adah’s experiences in the UK highlight the issues faced by immigrants, particularly those from non-Western countries, as they confront cultural shock and prejudice.
Throughout the novel, Adah’s role is that of a survivor. She endures multiple hardships, including an abusive marriage, financial struggles, and the loss of her children. Adah’s determination to improve her circumstances and provide a better life for her children drives her actions. She takes on various jobs, including working as a cleaner and selling wigs, to support her family and pursue her dreams.
Adah’s character and role in the novel symbolize the experiences of many women who find themselves trapped in oppressive cultural and societal structures. She becomes a symbol of resilience and the will to overcome adversity in the face of societal expectations, racial discrimination, and gender inequality.
The theme of cultural shock is indeed central in “Second Class Citizen.” Adah’s migration from Nigeria to England exposes her to a drastically different cultural environment, and she finds herself grappling with the clash between her Nigerian heritage and the expectations and norms of British society. This clash leads to a sense of disorientation, confusion, and cultural shock.
In Nigeria, Adah was raised within a patriarchal society that emphasized traditional gender roles and limited opportunities for women. She was conditioned to accept her secondary status and conform to societal expectations. However, in England, she is exposed to a more liberal and egalitarian society where women have greater opportunities for education and career advancement. Adah experiences a cultural shock as she navigates this new environment and tries to reconcile her ingrained cultural beliefs with the newfound possibilities available to her.
Adah’s cultural shock is not limited to gender roles and expectations but extends to language, customs, and social interactions. She struggles with the English language and accents, making communication difficult at times. Adah also encounters racism and discrimination, further complicating her cultural adaptation. She faces rejection and prejudice from both Nigerians and British individuals, highlighting the challenges faced by immigrants in a society that is often resistant to change and unfamiliar cultural practices.
Through Adah’s experiences, Buchi Emecheta portrays the complexities and difficulties faced by individuals who find themselves caught between two cultures. Adah’s journey reflects the broader immigrant experience, where individuals must navigate the unfamiliar terrain of a new culture while simultaneously grappling with the preservation of their own cultural identity. The theme of cultural shock underscores the novel’s exploration of identity, assimilation, and the quest for self-actualization in the face of cultural and societal barriers.
Unexpected Joy at Dawn” by Alex Agyei-Agyiri explores the theme of xenophobia through the interactions and experiences of the characters. The story is set in a rural Ghanaian village and revolves around the tensions and conflicts that arise between the local community and the Nigerian immigrants who have settled there.
The xenophobic attitudes in the text are primarily directed towards the Nigerian immigrants, particularly Mama Orojo and her family. The villagers view them with suspicion and prejudice due to their foreign origin. The author highlights the detrimental effects of xenophobia by showcasing the challenges faced by Mama Orojo and her attempts to integrate into the community.
One instance of xenophobia is evident when Mama Orojo’s son, Nic Jackie, is denied admission to the local school due to his Nigerian background. The villagers discriminate against him solely based on his nationality, reinforcing the idea that xenophobia can limit opportunities for individuals and perpetuate exclusion.
Another example of xenophobia is the hostility Mama Orojo experiences from her neighbors. She is subjected to derogatory remarks, isolation, and a general reluctance from the villagers to accept her as part of the community. This alienation and marginalization highlight the damaging impact of xenophobia, creating a sense of otherness and deepening the divide between the two groups.
The statement “To whom it may concern: keep this nigger boy running” reflects the dehumanization and subjugation that the narrator experiences throughout his life in the novel Invisible Man. The narrator is constantly being used and manipulated by those in power who see him only as a means to their own ends. From the very beginning of the novel the narrator is forced to fight in a brutal and degrading battle royal where he is pitted against other black boys and made to entertain a white audience. This event sets the tone for the rest of the novel as the narrator is constantly being “kept running” by others who use him for their own purposes.
The narrator is also subjected to the ideologies and expectations of both the white and black communities. He initially believes that if he adheres to the ideologies and expectations of the white society he will be able to succeed and gain recognition. However he soon realizes that no matter how hard he tries he will never be seen as an individual with his own agency. Instead he is seen as a representative of his race and is expected to conform to certain stereotypes and roles.
Furthermore the narrator’s experiences with the Brotherhood further emphasize his status as a “nigger boy” who is kept running. The Brotherhood uses him as a symbol to gain support and manipulate the masses using his invisibility to their advantage. They exploit his passion and desire for change but ultimately discard him once he no longer serves their purpose.
Overall the statement “To whom it may concern: keep this nigger boy running” highlights the dehumanization and exploitation that the narrator faces throughout the novel. He is used and manipulated by those in power stripped of his individuality and forced to conform to the expectations of society.
In Ralph Ellison’s novel “Invisible Man,” the theme of identity is central to the story. The protagonist, an unnamed African American man, embarks on a journey of self-discovery and wrestles with the complexities of his racial, social, and individual identity throughout the narrative. Ellison explores various aspects of identity, including racial identity, personal identity, and the struggle for self-definition in a racially divided society.
One of the primary concerns of the novel is the African American experience in a racially oppressive society. The protagonist grapples with the notion of invisibility, feeling marginalized and unseen by the dominant white culture. His invisibility is not merely physical but also symbolic, as it reflects the dehumanization and erasure of African Americans in society. This struggle for visibility becomes intertwined with his quest for identity.
The protagonist navigates through different spaces, encountering various social and political groups that attempt to define his identity for him. He confronts stereotypes, prejudice, and racial expectations that limit his self-expression and restrict his ability to forge his own identity. From the college he attends to the Brotherhood, a political organization, each group tries to mold him into a specific role based on their own agendas, highlighting the external pressures and expectations placed upon him.
Moreover, the protagonist’s personal journey of self-discovery is marked by a series of transformative experiences and encounters. He undergoes a process of shedding preconceived notions and societal expectations, gradually realizing the complexities of his own individuality. He moves from a state of naivety and idealism to a more nuanced understanding of his place in the world.
Ellison also explores the theme of identity through the motif of masks and disguises. The protagonist wears figurative masks to navigate through different social settings, concealing his true self in order to fit in or survive. However, these masks prevent him from fully embracing his own identity, reinforcing the idea that society forces marginalized individuals to conform and deny their authentic selves.
Ultimately, the novel suggests that true identity cannot be imposed or defined by external forces. The protagonist’s journey is a quest to define himself on his own terms, free from the constraints of societal expectations. Through his experiences, he comes to understand that true identity is a complex and multifaceted construct that cannot be reduced to simplistic categories or stereotypes.
In conclusion, the theme of identity in “Invisible Man” is a rich and intricate exploration of the African American experience in a racially divided society. Ralph Ellison delves into the struggles of the protagonist as he grapples with racial invisibility, societal pressures, and the quest for self-definition. The novel emphasizes the importance of recognizing and embracing one’s own authentic identity, beyond the limitations imposed by others, in order to achieve true selfhood.
In Emily Brontë’s novel “Wuthering Heights,” the consequences of actions play a significant role in shaping the lives of the characters and driving the narrative forward. The novel explores themes of love, revenge, and the destructive nature of unchecked passion. Through various examples, Brontë portrays how the consequences of characters’ actions can have far-reaching and devastating effects.
One example of the consequences of actions is the relationship between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Catherine’s decision to marry Edgar Linton instead of Heathcliff leads to a series of tragic events. Heathcliff, consumed by his love for Catherine, becomes vengeful and bitter, seeking revenge on those he believes have wronged him. This ultimately leads to a cycle of violence and destruction that affects not only the main characters but also the next generation.
Another instance is Hindley Earnshaw’s mistreatment of Heathcliff. Hindley’s jealousy and resentment towards Heathcliff cause him to mistreat and degrade him, which fuels Heathcliff’s desire for revenge. As a result, Heathcliff manipulates and torments Hindley’s son, Hareton Earnshaw, perpetuating the cycle of abuse across generations. The consequences of Hindley’s actions have lasting impacts on both himself and those around him.
Additionally, the actions of Isabella Linton, Edgar’s sister, have significant consequences. Isabella, driven by infatuation and a desire to escape her unhappy marriage to Heathcliff, elopes with him. However, she soon realizes the harsh reality of his cruel and vindictive nature. Her actions lead to her own misery as she becomes trapped in an abusive relationship. She bears Heathcliff’s child, Linton, who becomes a pawn in Heathcliff’s revenge scheme, ultimately leading to Linton’s untimely death.
Overall, “Wuthering Heights” illustrates how the consequences of characters’ actions can reverberate throughout the novel, affecting not only the individuals involved but also future generations. Love, passion, and revenge drive the characters to make choices that result in devastating outcomes, showcasing the destructive power of unchecked emotions and the profound impact of actions on the lives of those involved.
The hostility between Heathcliff and Lockwood in Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights is evident from their first encounter and continues to escalate throughout the story. This conflict stems from their contrasting personalities backgrounds and experiences.
Lockwood a gentleman from London is introduced as an outsider when he rents Thrushcross Grange the neighboring estate of Wuthering Heights. Inquisitive and curious he is intrigued by the mysterious atmosphere of the moors and the unconventional nature of the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. However his initial attempts to establish a friendly relationship with Heathcliff are met with indifference and even rudeness.
Heathcliff on the other hand is a brooding and enigmatic character. As an orphan brought to Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw he is often regarded as an outsider as well. However unlike Lockwood Heathcliff is deeply connected to the estate and its turbulent past. He resents Lockwood’s intrusion into his solitude and considers him an unwelcome guest.
Their hostility intensifies when Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights and intrudes upon a confrontation between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw the love of Heathcliff’s life. Lockwood witnesses the emotional turmoil between the two and becomes increasingly involved in their complicated relationship. This intrusion exacerbates Heathcliff’s anger towards Lockwood as he feels his privacy has been violated.
Furthermore the stark differences in their social statuses and upbringings contribute to the animosity between them. Lockwood represents the upper-class gentry while Heathcliff is seen as a social outcast. These class distinctions exacerbate the tension between them and accentuate the power dynamics at play.
Ultimately Heathcliff’s deeply rooted resentment towards Lockwood stems from a combination of his own isolated upbringing his intense love for Catherine and his general disdain for anyone he perceives as an intruder or threat to his control over Wuthering Heights. This hostility between Heathcliff and Lockwood adds another layer of complexity to the narrative and serves to underline the themes of isolation obsession and revenge that permeate the novel.