Gender Relations in Efuru by Flora Nwapa Essay

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Gender Relations in Efuru by Flora Nwapa

In "Efuru", Flora Nwapa put a lot of emphasis in marriage and procreation. Both of these aspects are indispensable in creating new family units and in increasing the population of the family or lineage. Nwapa is reflecting, in "Efuru", the situation, as it exists in her society. Children are greatly valued in "Efuru". Each marriage is expected to produce many siblings, both male and female (with preference for a male). In Igbo culture, the most important reason for marriage is procreation. Even in marriages where love is the main attraction that brings couples together, the desire to have children is always the ultimate goal. This is the reason why most marriages, including those that are
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This role limits, confines, and domesticates women. It also distracts women from achieving higher goals or roles for themselves. In "Efuru", Flora Nwapa constantly refers to the proper upbringing of children; especially girls who are expected to become wives and mothers. Amede, Efuru's mother-in-law and her friend, Omirima, express their disappointment with Ogea when Amede complains:
'It is that silly girl, Ogea. She washed my wrappers and all of them will have to be washed again because there is still black soap on all of them. How is it that a grown-up girl like that is not able to wash clothes properly? How can she live in a man's house?'(181)

Omirima replies:

'That's what I keep on saying, children of these days are no good. How men of today marry them is what
I can not understand.'(181)

This part of the book makes someone ask themselves: If motherhood is so vital to the mental health of the African woman, why does Flora Nwapa punish the heroine, Efuru, with the malignant trauma of childlessness? The pain of infertility is inflicted in Efuru. As I have read as well, in some of the websites that I have visited dedicated to Flora Nwapa, this pain is inflicted in most of her independent and assertive women in four of her novels: Efuru and Idu, Amaka in One is Enough, and Rose in Women Are Different. When these women eventually conceive a child, it brings about a lot of

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