‘Foundational fictions’ Variations of the marriage plot in Flora Nwapa’s early Anglophone-Igbo novels
Moola, Fiona Fatima
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The Igbo marriage song recorded by Ifi Amadiume in her influential ethnographic study of the Nnobi in Southeastern Nigeria is a reminder of the cross-cultural, trans-historical significance of some form of marriage in the establishment of some form of family as the foundation and guarantor of survival and stability of the social. Domestic happiness in the extended family of the Igbo context of the period in which the novel is set involves not only husband and wife, as in the nuclear family, but also the husband’s extended family relations. Analysing the gender dynamics of marriage is a focus of a vast number of feminist studies of African literature. Isidore Okpewho in ‘Understanding African Marriage: towards a Convergence of Literature and Sociology’ contrasts the picture of marriage that occurs in African cultural expression, with marriage as it emerges in anthro-sociology. ‘Motherhood’ is a concept that has come under intense scrutiny in the scholarship of African society and literature.