2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

The Gender-Stratification of Marriage and Its Stifling Influence on Woman's Potential as Presented in Ama Ata Aidoo's Changes: A Love Story
Meaghan E. Quinly
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Set amidst emerging opportunities for women, Ama Ata Aidoo’s female protagonists struggle with the conflict between marriage and career. The novel, which significantly lacks a model of ideal marriage, boldly condemns the institution of marriage. Accumulation of education serves, simultaneously, as a means of advancement for women and a catalyst for their discontent. Imbued with modern viewpoints, educated women object to the traditional ideology which regards marriage as the ultimate fulfillment of women’s potential. Patriarchal hegemony subjugates women to merely the role of wife, regardless of her professional or educational aspirations. The older generations of women, though dissatisfied with archaic gender-biased stratification, have conceded to the system and, thus, perpetuated it. This absence of mentors aggravates the younger generation’s confusion, already complicated by the import attributed to marriage. Aidoo emphasizes the futility of rebellion due to the severe stigmas attached to unmarried women and predominant adherence to traditional gender roles.

Keywords: patriarchal hegemony

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 37-4
Location: VH 1304
Time: 2:00

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