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The Bride Price Buchi Emecheta Essay Examples

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Throughout the world, there are numerous cultures that practice various customs and traditions. These cultures have often set up guidelines for the people of the society to follow and adhere to. Some societies practice their customs and traditions in a more lenient manner. On the other hand, some societies are very strict with their practices and strive to maintain and preserve their culture by teaching the customs to the people and practicing them frequently. Such is the case in the Nigerian society. The Nigerian people follow specific rules and customs in regards to marriage practices, social status, and superstitions. The marriage custom is one specific aspect of their culture that is strictly enforced for all men and women of the…show more content…

Despite the fact that, the women are given the major responsibilities as being the caretakers of the family, they are still viewed as inferior to the men. In fact, Aku-nna thinks of herself as “too insignificant to be regarded as a blessing” (9). When their father leaves the home for an extended period of time for reasons unknown to the children, other members of their society are expected to make sure everyone is all right. The Nigerian societies are very close knit, thus the reason why Aku-nna was not frightened for the absence of her father because “their neighbours would look after them, she knew, for in that part of the world everyone is responsible for the next person” (14). Upon the sudden death of Aku-nna and Nna-nndo’s father, the family is left in a shattered state. Their mother, Ma Blackie, who was away at the time, brings her children to another town in Nigeria, called Ibuza. Upon arrival at the town, they meet other members of their family, including their father’s brother, Okonkwo. In Nigerian society, polygamy is permitted and in this case “Okonkwo Odia wanted his late brother’s wife to stay in the family, to be his fourth wife” and now “according to native law and custom [Aku-nna] is his daughter” (73,77). The main reason for Okonkwo wanting to marry Ma Blackie and be Aku-nna’s father was because of his desire to get money from her bride price. The bride price is a marriage custom

The predecessors of Buchi Emecheta’s The Bride Price, the novels In the Ditch (1972) and Second-Class Citizen (1974), narrate the lives of Nigerians living in London. If the obstacles Nigerian women find there include indigenous sexist attitudes on the part of their husbands, then both men and women struggle to live in a different culture, marginalized by British racist attitudes. Emecheta’s third published novel, however, is set exclusively in Nigeria; indeed, most of the story takes place in provincial Ibuza, removed from the culturally pluralistic capital of Lagos. Although British law has circumscribed certain customs of the Ibo, the tribal grouping of The Bride Price, only one white person, the head of the local mission, actually appears in the novel, and does so briefly. The society whose virtues and vices are here depicted is relatively untouched by the West.

In the tradition of Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958), still the best-known African novel and also set among the Ibo, the third-person narrative voice carefully brings the reader to an understanding of and a respect for traditional culture—its assumptions and beliefs and the customs that flow from these beliefs. Like Achebe, Emecheta instructs the reader about the chi, or personal god, and about the ogbanje, or the living dead. Also like Achebe, Emecheta quotes Ibo proverbs for the insight they provide into the culture that produced them and which they reflect. The narrative voice also omnisciently informs readers of the great strength of Ibo culture: The Ibo have what is called by psychologists “the group mind”;...

(The entire section is 696 words.)

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