Five: Exploring the Gendered Nature of National Violence: The Intersection of Patriarchy and Civil Conflict in Tanella Boni's Matins De Couvre-Feu (Mornings under Curfew).
Much of narrator's thought process demonstrates a profound consciousness of the patriarchal nature of her culture. In this respect, she seems to mirror the thoughts of Boni herself as expressed in her book Que vivent les femmes d'Afrique? [What Do the Women of Africa Face?] (2009b) where she writes:
Les femmes d'Afrique subissent encore ces maux lies au systeme patriarcal... meme si, ca et la, des lois proclament la fin de ces pratiques... encore faudrait-il combattre les ideologies sur lesquelles reposent l'inegalite des sexes et la hierarchie entre le masculin et le feminin. (pp.16-17)
[The women of Africa still endure those evils linked to the patriarchal system... even if, here and there, laws proclaim the end of those practices... they must still fight against the ideologies on which rest the inequality of the sexes and the hierarchy between masculine and feminine].
In Matins de couvre-feu, the word "patriarch" occurs variously throughout the narrator's reflections in reference both to her own grandfather and to the first president of the country; she draws on the concept explicitly in the choice she makes for the name of her restaurant, Le Repas du Patriarche [The Patriarch's Repast] and in the hierarchical relationships characteristic of patriarchy that are repeatedly evoked, explained, or dramatized in the course of the narrative. She further examines how patriarchy informs different kinds of relationships within the nation, not merely gender relationships, but relationships between generations within the same family or clan as well as relationships between the patriarch's family, the insiders, and those of other families, the outsiders. She illustrates the latter within the text through the presence of foreigners and the descendants of slaves, the children of those who had been defeated in battle in earlier times. By intertwining stories of her own family's past with the present conflict, she also shows how historical patriarchal traditions have played a role in preparing the soil for contemporary civil wars in West Africa.
The story begins with the narrator's present situation as a woman under house arrest in the fictional postcolonial capital city of Zambaville and an account of the violence and corruption leading to her detention. As the woman searches for ways to occupy her time during her months in isolation and for raw material for the journal she keeps, she draws on her memories and finds diversion in reconstructing the past....
The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia
Spleth, Janice, Wagadu: a Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Dec 22, 2017|
|Previous Article:||AIDS and Masculinity in the African City: Privilege, Inequality, and Modern Manhood.|
|Next Article:||Four: Rupturing the Genre: Un-Writing Silence in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah.|