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Promoting Women’s Awareness towards Change in Nigeria: the Role of Literature

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This paper examines women’s struggle to overcome marginalization in a sexist and a patriarchal Nigerian society. It argues that fictional literature can be an effective tool for creating awareness, learning and dialogue among Nigerian women from various cultural, religious and ethnic background towards transformation. Literature, like any medium of communication, can be used to mobilize social change. This argument is illustrated through a literary analysis of three novels by three renowned female Nigerian writers: Efuru (1966) by Flora Nwapa, Second Class Citizen (1974) by Buchi Emecheta and Purple Hibiscus (2003) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The authors project womanhood in a positive light, upholding the potentials of women by making role models out of each female protagonist. Women’s efforts to free themselves from the bondage of tradition, politics, marriage and most importantly male dominance are what makes these three novels extremely powerful. This paper intends to show how literature tries to open up the neglected subject of women oppression in Nigeria and create awareness.
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