Female characters’ resistance to masculine stereotypes in Asenath Odaga’s selected novels
Sigera, Moses Okea
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The study explores resistance to masculine stereotypes as depicted in Asenath Odaga’s selected novels with the idea that the female characters resist and reject the masculine stereotypes resulting from the deep-seated patriarchal organization of the African society. Stereotypes against women exist in literary texts and the society as well. The study exposes the masculine stereotypes that exist and therefore provides a platform for resistance against such stereotypes which have always frustrated women’s liberation owing to the presence of deep-seated patriarchal underpinnings. The specific objectives that guide the study are to: analyze the masculine stereotypes targeting female characters, examine literary style in female characters’ resistance to masculine stereotypes and investigate the thematic concerns in female characters’ resistance to masculine stereotypes. The research employs the theories of gynocriticism and radical feminism. Gynocriticism theory as fronted by Elaine Showalter was invented in 1979 and it seeks to establish a literary tradition of women without incorporating male authors. It advocates for setting an independent tradition for female writers that does not incorporate androcentric assumptions; in other words, setting as a rational methodology of dealing with the woman writer as a genius intellectual who produces textual meanings. Gynocriticism is therefore concerned with identifying topics and themes in literature written by women. Radical feminism as espoused by Ti Grace Atkinson was founded in the 1970s and it attributes women’s suffering to patriarchy. It calls for the total overhaul of patriarchy and oppression. The study is based on analytical research design. The study area is restricted to two novels written by Asenath Bole Odaga, Between the Years (1987) and Endless Road (1995) since they are against masculine stereotypes. The target population consists of the two novels purposively sampled from the six that the author has written as at the time of study. The sample size is determined by taking 30% of the six novels. The primary data is sourced from the two novels while secondary data is from library and online research. Data is analysed through close reading and textual analysis. Data is presented in continuous prose. The study is significant in bridging the gender gap that feminists are not trying to out- power men but are engaging in a quest for humane relations. The study of gender representation is an occasion to show the injustices meted against women and it demonstrates how women have been portrayed through gender stereotypes which eventually influence the treatment of women in the entire world and suggests a remedy for fairness. The study has established the presence of gender stereotypes against women, it has also shown how female characters circumvent the stereotypes by having an emboldened stance against male dominance and further the study has gone ahead to present how Asenath Odaga depicts women characters at the end, denoting the triumph of the female gender against the masculine stereotypes.
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