Representations of "The New Woman" in Selected Works by Ama Ata Aidoo
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This study explores the representations of "the new woman" in selected works by Ama Ata Aidoo namely: Changes (1993), Our Sister Killjoy (1977), Girl Who Can and Other Stories (1997) and Diplomatic Pounds (2012). The study is basically a documentary type with a qualitative approach. It involves the critical and analytical reading of the selected texts of Ama Ata Aidoo in their representation of “the new woman”. The investigation makes use of the feminist literary theory and African feminism in particular, where specifically Ama Ata Aidoo addresses the conditions and needs of continental African women (African women who reside on the African continent) and points out key issues relating to discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sex and gender objectification, structural and economic inequality, power and oppression and gender roles and stereotypes. It reviews several studies carried out on works by Ama Ata Aidoo thus providing this study the privilege of filling the gaps that were not addressed. It scrutinizes several literary elements that effectively depict the old and new woman characters in the selected works by Aidoo. Findings are presented in two chapters, chapter two and three. Chapter two observes that Ama Ata Aidoo writes about the lives of women engaged in quests of self-exploration in Ghana and in their migrations abroad. It is finally noted that Aidoo does not agree to the view that the success of a woman should be gauged by her ability to get married and have children as emphasised by African tradition. To her, the success of women does not lie in their ability to reproduce but rather to become productive in other aspects that benefit humanity and promote independence and progress of a nation. Chapter three discusses the diverse narrative techniques Ama Ata Aidoo uses to depict the differences between the old and the new woman characters. It is noted that Aidoo uses a multiplicity of narrative techniques that create various shades of meaning in the interpretation of her fiction. Such techniques include juxtaposition, setting, use of female friendships or collective female solidarity, use of dialogue, commentator and or participatory character, and use of frame stories among others. All the issues pertaining to the beliefs, attitude and practices of the old and new woman characters are discussed with in the prospects of the feminist theory particularly the African feminist theory. Aidoo clearly implies that for any nation to develop effectively the role of a woman must not be ignored. A woman has to join hands with the man in order to see a better nation, it should however be noted that the position of a woman in the contemporary world is still a hustle since it is proven through all the new woman characters that it is hard for women to live as single or divorced without enigma from the society.