Character transformation and social-historical awareness in the novels of Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye
Tawo, Abungu Maurice
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This study investigates the extent to which the historical, mediated by Macgoye's ideological disposition, shapes and determines character transformation especially when such characters happen to be marginalized women. It argues that Macgoye valorises women characters detailing issues affecting them in order to sensitize the society to have a fresher glance at their plight. History, according to Macgoye, does not impact homogeneously on both men and women. This is clearly reflected in progressive social transformation of Macgoye's model female character, Paulina of Coming to Birth while her husband Martin retrogresses. Macgoye's key statement in all her novels may be summarised as change, which is conceived of in the form of a journey motif. The journey is gradual and may occupy the whole of one's life. The journey begins in the village-a symbol of restricted space-where men rule supreme and ends in the city, which offers economic and social space leading to a holistic transformation. The city is seen as offering the much needed alternative choice for social and economic progress. Macgoye shows clearly that the social economic and political transformation can never be divorced from the historical events that unfold within the larger area of the nation. That is why she ties individual freedom to that of a nation at large. Her characters are presented as tragic individuals freedom to that of a nation at large. Her characters are presented as tragic individuals consistently struggling to liberate themselves from the forces of oppression. It is their success against such forces that makes them heroic. As an advocate of subtle feminist ideology, Macgoye subverts repugnant socio-cultural structures that militate against women's progress. Women are depicted as rebelling against pre-arranged marriages, which reduce them to mere objects of exchange. Mothers move away from old-age maternal instinct, which strictly prohibits neglect of children, to abandon their children if such children are used by society to tether their spirits to unreciprical marriages.