The IUP Journal of English Studies
"Your Bottom Power Is Easier and Surer": Feminist Supervisions in Intercourse and Human Rights in Buchi Emecheta's Double Yoke

Article Details
Pub. Date : June, 2023
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES060623
Author Name : Nikita Anand and Aditya Prakash
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 15



The meaning of the phrase "prostitutes Nigerian style" is interrogated by the female protagonist of Emecheta's Double Yoke (1983, 141). Although the novel is primarily set in independent Nigeria, this paper analyzes the theme of female submission in the novel vis-a-vis dominant sexual intercourse powers to procure agency for discourses on basic human rights: to live, to educate, and to work freely within the national boundary. Drawing on the discursive idea of Dworkin (1987, 10) on intercourse in a man-made world, characterized by "depravity, debauchery, dissoluteness," this paper argues that Emecheta's novel calls into question why the existing hearings for an unimaginable devaluation of womanhood are still unrecorded, why the discourses of human rights and liberty fall short of women's needs, and how their existence is fraught by torture, beatings, and sexual punishments via the State's educational institutions and other governing organizations such as National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), Nigeria.

When you live alone as a woman, confidence is something you have to build.

- Klinenberg (2013, 69)

If she is black and coming out into the world she must be doubly armed, doubly prepared.

- Walker (1983, 36)

In remembrance of the late Buchi Emecheta, her son Sylvester Onwordi, in his column for New Statesman, celebrated the legacy of her humanitarian and heroic deeds.

Throughout his life, Onwordi (2017) observed silently how she prepared herself and worked hard to survive against poverty, racism, sexism, and violation of many of her rights as a wife and woman in her home, driven by African politics, which is hostile towards women. Most of Emecheta's female protagonists were a reflection of her own legendary character, and this statement also holds true for her 1983 novel, Double Yoke. Set in the University of Calabar (Nigeria)-where Emecheta herself was a lecturer-her novel traces the female protagonist Nko's navigation through adulthood as she strives to survive between two choices: career and marriage within the patriarchal structure of life. "Oh mother, I want to have both worlds, I want to be an academician and I want to be a quiet, nice and obedient wife, the type you all want me to be," Nko states (Emecheta 1983, 94). Onwordi (2017, 4) recalled the sparkling look in his mother's eyes in one of his childhood memories: