Women and Patriarchy: A Reading of Zaynab Alkali’s The Stillborn

Maina Ouarodima


 “Men are presented as the first in everything even when they are not, and the best also when they are not. They are the king and they are the head. They lead in every matter whether they can take decisions that would be of importance to the society or not. They are made more important than women [1:280].” Such a quotation gives us a hint at who are the true decision makers in a patriarchal society. As a result, the research looks at the position of women in a patriarchal society and de facto the roles played by both male and female characters responsible for the subordination of women. Also, the research investigates the reasons that have conditioned Zaynab Alkali and de facto her female characters to protest the place and the role given to them by the patriarchal society and bring out its aesthetics in contributing to the liberation of the female characters in the novel. While the textual analysis is limited to The Stillborn, the research helps to pay a critical attention not only to the marginalization of women, but also to the awareness of power of female gender as an equal force in the socio economic and political development of the continent. Finally, the researcher employs the theory of African feminism to enable the reader to uncover some measures of protest by women in their attempt to create a more suitable society.


Alkali; Female upheaval; Patriarchy.

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