Mother Supremacy Motif in Chinua Achebe’s Novels: Empowering Women to propel Education through Religion
Muneeni, Jeremiah Mutuku
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There has been an intense debate with regards to Chinua Achebe’s (mis)representation of women in his creative works, especially his early novels. This point of view has been augmented by feminists who posit that the belief that men are superior to women has been used to maintain male monopoly of positions of economic, political and social power. A major aspect of social power is religion. Achebe’s novels’ setting cuts across the three major African epochs namely; pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial. Before the external influence, Africans practiced traditional African religion which later, systematically, accommodated Christianity and Islam. Judged from his creative works, many scholars have advanced the notion that Achebe is a patriarchal writer who has relegated women to the periphery. This paper is a continuation of the debate. Specifically, it argues that there is an overt empowerment of women in Achebe’s novels notably with regards to religion and if the same is not recognized, he will continue to be demonized as a gender insensitive writer. The unit of analysis will be the first two of Achebe’s novels namely: Things Fall Apart, and No Longer at Ease. The paper will interrogate the aforementioned novels within the framework of nego-feminism, with the aim of unearthing and examining the “Supreme Mother motif” inherent in them. The paper will identify religion, education and justice as the spheres of life in which Achebe has created, empowered and elevated Supreme Mothers comparable to their male counterparts but delimit itself to religion. Later the paper will conclude that according women religion docket to manage is tantamount to elevating them since religion is a transformational instrument for mankind.