2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

"I Am Not My Mother": Postcolonial Reform Without Female Role Models
Laura C. Gorday
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The women in Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus fail in their struggles to break free from their roles imposed by male-dominated societies. In Nervous Conditions, Tambu's mother is unable to encourage her desire for an education because she has become more of an object than a woman in the social hierarchy. Tambu almost finds a role model to replace her mother in her aunt, Maiguru, who has a master's degree and works full-time, but is exhausted by the demands of being both a woman and a professional. Tambu's cousin, Nyasha, does not see her mother as a positive role model, and so is unable to have the guidance that she so desperately needs. In Purple Hibiscus, Kambili almost has a positive role model in her mother's sister, but is too disconnected from her to accept her as one, and thus unable to internalize her example.

Keywords: gender studies, Adichie, Dangerembga, postcolonial, feminism, role models

Women's and Gender Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 32-1
Location: VH 1232
Time: 9:30

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