Womanist Tenets in Selected Novels of Chika Unigwe and Terry Mcmillan
AbstractIn this paper, the deployment of womanist tenets in Chika Unigwe's On Black Sisters' Street (2009) and Terry McMillan's Disappearing Acts (1989) was examined with a view to critique the convergences and divergences in both novelists' utilisation of womanist tenets. Both novels were subjected to comparative and critical textual analyses employing womanist tenets including female bonding, family centredness, gender complementariness and motherhood. In both novels, four female characters were used to appropriate the womanist tenet of female bonding. In Unigwe's novel, they were depicted to seek greener pastures, but in McMillan's novel, they were portrayed to be economically independent. All the female characters realise that it is better to live with their male counterparts than living alone. This foregrounds the womanist tenet of male complementariness. It is shown that a collaboration among family members is the only panacea to societal ills and that motherhood must be cherished by women; as it is not seen as a burden. However, parents must collectively raise their children to achieve a balanced physical and psychological worldview. Both novels are stuffed with relevant womanist doctrines. Therefore, Womanism is a quintessential theoretical tool for expressing women's plight and exploits in African and African American novels.
Mcmillan, T. 1989. Disappearing Acts. New York: Washington Square Press.
Unigwe, C. 2009.On Black Sisters' Street. London: Vintage Random House.
Ba, M. 1981. So Long a Letter. Trans. Modupe B. Thomas. Ibadan: New Horn Press.
Bardwick, J. 1980. "The Seasons of a Woman's Life", in McGuigan, D. (Ed.), Women's Lives: New Theory, Research and Policy, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, MI, pp. 35-57.
Castle, G. 2007. The Pocket Essentials Literary Theory. Oxford: Blackwell Publisher.
Christian, B. 1985. Black Feminist Criticism: Perspectives on Black Women Writers. New York: Pergamum.
Chukwuma, H. (2000). "The face of Eve: Feminist writing in African literature". Major themes in African literature: Ed. Damian U. Opata and Aloysius U. Ohaegbu. Nsukka: AP Express Publishers, 101-114.
Collins, P.H. 2000. "The Meaning of Motherhood in Black Culture in Staples" ed. The Black Family: Essays and Studies. Belmont C.A. Wadsworth Publishing.
De Beauvoir, S. 1976. The Second Sex. Trans.and Ed. M Parshley. New York: Vintage Books.
Deckard, B.S. 1979. The Women's Movement: Political, Socioeconomic and Psychological Issues. New York: Harper & Row.
DeVeaux, A. 1983. Interview by Claudia Tate, in Black Women Writers at Work, ed. Claudia Tate. The Continuum Publishing Company, New York, 1983. 213pp
Dinshaw, C. 2007. "Medieval Feminist Criticism", in Gill Plain and Susan Sellers (eds.), A History of Feminist Literary Criticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 11-26.
Ezeigbo, T. A. 2012. Snail-sense feminism: Building on an indigenous model. Lagos: Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos. Monograph; Series No. 17.
Fox-Genovese, E. 1994. Difference, Diversity and Divisions in an Agenda for the Women's Movement." In Color, Class and Country: Experiences of Gender, edited by G. Young and B. Dickerson. London: Zed Books
Hudson-Weems, C. 1993. Africana Womanism: Reclaiming Ourselves. Bedford Publishers: Michigan.
---------2007. Contemporary Africana, Theory, Thought and Action. A Guide to Aflcana Studies. Trenton and Asmara: Africa World Press.
Humm, M. 1994. Contemporary Feminist Literary Theory. London: Harvester- Wheatsheaf.
Kolawole, M. E. M. 1 997. Womanism and African Consciousness. New Jersey: African World Press.
........... 2000. "Feminine Preoccupations in African Literature: A Theoretical Appraisal ".In: Major Themes in African Literature. Opata, Damian and Ohaegbu, Aloysius, (eds.), pp. 1 15 - 130. Nsukka: A.P. Express Publishers.
Ladner, J. Tomorrow's Tomorrow: The Black Woman (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1972), 277-278.
Lehodziec, A. 2009. "Alice walker's Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart as a Womanist Novel. “Indian Review of World Literature in English 5(l):38-44.
Millet, K. 1977 Sexual Politics London: Virago Print
Mojola, Y.I. 1989. The Works of Flora Nwapa. Nigerian Female Writers. A Critical Perspective.
Morrison, T. (ed), Race-ing Justice and En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence
Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality. New York: Pantheon Books, 1992. Print.
Ntiri, D. W. 2001. Reassessing Africana Womanism: Continuity and Change, [review], The Western Journal of Black Studies. 25(3): 1 63- 1 87.
Ogunyemi,.C.O. 1985. Womanism: The Dynamics of the Contemporary Black Female Novel in English. Signs: Journal of women in Culture and Society, 11(1):63-80.
...........1988. "Women and Nigerian Literature" in Perspectives on Nigerian Literature:
to the Present, Vol. 1. (Ogunbiyi, Y.(Ed.). Lagos: Guardian Books Nigeria Limited, 60-67
Raman, S. Widdowson, P. and Brooker, P. 1997."Feminist Theories."In Raman, Widdowson and
Brooker, A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory, 4th ed. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall-Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Sotunsa, M. 2008. Feminism and Gender Discourse: The African Experience, Sagamu: Ojoko Birikale Press.
waThiong'O, N. 1972. Homecoming: Essays on African and Caribbean Literature, Culture and Politics. London: Heinemann
Walker, A. 1983./n Search of Our Mother's Garden: A Womanist Prose. New York: University Press.
Woolf, V. 1989. A Room of One's Own. London: Grafton Books
Yaa Asatewaa, R. and Pamela, 2001. Africana Womanism and African Feminism: A Philosophical, Literary and Cosmological Dialect on Family. The Western Journal of Black Studies, 25(3): 168-176
Copyright (c) 2022 Dr, Prof
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).