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Infection in the Sentence: The Castration of a Black Woman's Dream of Authorship as Manifested in Buchi Emecheta's Second Class Citizen

Authors: Aseel Hatif Jassam, Hadeel Hatif Jassam


The paper discusses the phallocentric discourse that is challenged by women in general and women of color in particular in spite of the simultaneity of oppression due to race, class, and gender in the diaspora. Therefore, the paper gives a brief account of women's experience in the light of postcolonial feminist theory. The paper also casts light on the theories of Luce Irigaray and Helen Cixous, two feminist theorists who support and advise women to have their own discourse to challenge the infectious patriarchal sentence advocated by Sigmund Freud and Harold Bloom's model of literary history. Black women authors like Buchi Emecheta as well as her alter ego Adah, a Nigerian-born girl and the protagonist of her semi-autobiographical novel, Second Class Citizen, suffer from this phallocentric and oppressive sentence and displacement as they migrate from Nigeria, a former British colony where they feel marginalized, to North London with the hope of realizing their dreams. Yet in the British diaspora, they get culturally shocked and continue to suffer from further marginalization due to class and race and are insulted and inferiorized ironically by their patriarchal husbands who try to put an end to their dreams of authorship. With the phallocentric belief that women are not capable of self-representation in the background of their mindsets, the violent Sylvester Onwordi and Francis Obi, the husbands of both Emecheta and Adah respectively have practiced oppression on them by burning their own authoritative voices, represented by the novels they write while they are struggling with their economically atrocious living experiences in the British diaspora.

Keywords: Authorship, British diaspora, discourse, phallocentric, patriarchy.

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