African Literature and Culture

1447 Words Apr 1st, 2007 6 Pages
African Literature and Culture:
African writers’ representation of male-female relationships Analyzing male-female relationships in African literature enables a better understanding of how African writers view the gender roles including the application of religious aspects, marriage and identity, midwives and slave women, nationalism, and migration. In earlier works, the female gender was often perceived as “the Queen Mother.” Many African writers portray women in traditional roles whereas articles written in the past few decades analyze male-female relationships with a more feminist approach. This paper will analyze articles by leading African writers concerning the representation of the male-female relationship. In 1997, Jamaica
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No matter the make-up of the class … overwhelmingly folks want to come back as white and male. The reasons they give all confirm the race/sex hierarchy in our nation; they all simply believe they will have a better chance at success and at living long and well if they are white males. (Hooks 134) Most African female writers portray the male-female relationship are unequal to the female, where as male writers portray the opposite (e.g. Hook’s writing; 2004). Hooks explains the view that “wise progressive black women have understood for some time now that the most genocidal threat to black life in America, and especially to black male life, is patriarchal thinking and practice.” (Ibid) Hooks explains that “any distinction to be made between the status of black females and males…does not lie with a difference in the substantive nature of suffering or in the degree of life-threatening risk.” (135) An example of Hooks’ thinking is given:
…my father never wanted Mama to work, but she understood that to ensure the educational advancement of her children she needed to bring money in. She defied him to go out and work. Working helped her self-esteem. She moved positively forward and helped us all move forward, and Dad stayed stuck, pissed that she went out to work. (136)

Unlike Hooks’ peers, the inclusion of the male-female gender is an unrestrained account what life is really like for each gender, including the stereotypical
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