Marxism and African Literature: the Intersection between Gender and Class in Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless

Marxism and African Literature: the Intersection between Gender and Class in Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless

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1.0 Introduction

Marxism is a theory which critiques the power of the ruling capitalist classes whose ideas are dominant in society (Eagleton, 5). The reason as to why Marxism is useful for a critical analysis of Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless in this context is because Marxism equips us with the tools to understand power structures while exposing the exploitative nature of these power structures in accumulating wealth and exploitation of the poor as in the case of colonialism (Coulthard).

Furthermore, Inyang state that Marxist criticism within literary studies aims at explaining literary works in detail with the focus on understanding the meaning of these works (3). Furthermore, Murchland opine that  Marxist literary criticism is part of a larger theoretical analysis of society rooted in the struggles of people for freedom from oppression while unmasking ideologies (362). As a theory, Marxism has been described as response to the European industrial revolution (Rahayu and Supiastutik 1) and likewise deemed a systemic and systematic critique of capital and capitalism (Sinha and Varma 547).

1.1 Backgrounds to the Study

Marxism is an economic and political theory that seeks the attention of class struggle in the society. This theory also drowns attention to the unfair and exploitation conditions, seeking to reverse the system and entrust a greater portion of the society’s wealth… in the hands of its producers. (67)  The appraisal elements of Marxism in African literature are contained in the literary writings of Darko. As a Marxist writer, his social and political lifestyle reflects in his novels by portraying on the socio-political and economic exploitation of the masses by the bourgeoisies.

He also examines the issue of class struggle, exploitation, oppression and other elements of Marxism such as violence, conflict impose to a man by his fellow man. This is why Eagleton defines Marxism as a scientific theory of human societies and transforming them; and what that means, rather more concretely, is that the narrative Marxism has to deliver is the story of the struggle of men and women to free themselves from certain forms of exploitation and oppression (89).”

The conception of Marxism arose from the radical perception of human society and its practitioners that have been viewed as radicals. This conception of Marxism is what Marxists are called ‘leftists’, to indicate their stance as anti-bourgeoisie. In other words, Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless examine the class struggle and how the rich exploit the poor awfully. He justifies the use of violence as an instrument of liberation, because the only language the colonialist understands is the use of force. Similarly, he regards violence as a way of liberation which is never violence’s sake, but a physically and spiritually redeeming counter-violence. He also see violence as a must to be broadly conceived as meaning of economic, political and ideological as well as military struggle between the ‘dammed’ and the exploiters.

He exposes how the working people class is presented in the novels as those people who are always in the process of asserting their existence through struggling for survival by starving and working throughout the day to the capitalists in order to earn a living. Emecheta rehabilitates the image of working class as the primary historical force, and are to be politically reckoned with in society.  The novels considered religion and history as the handiwork of man entirely. His philosophical emphasis is on human labour and what man became what we know of him today is as a result of labour. This is all the more reason why working people must be given their rightful place in human history.

Darko presentations of the labourers, exploiters, truck-pushers are good illustration of his materialistic conception of his writings.  He portrayed human beings as people who debasing themselves and others in their efforts to appropriate the surplus –value created by the working people.  It is on this investigation on the depiction of the condition of working class people in the Nigerian societies that this study is to analyses Marxism and African Literature: the Intersection between Gender and Class in Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Over decades, poverty has eaten deep in to the livelihood in our society, Nigeria, Africa and the world at large due to the fact that our economy are control by leaders who are corrupt who instead of developing the economic for the citizens rather to their own pocket.

Lootings of public funds that were made for development of the society have been diverted to personal accounts, this has lead to abject poverty among citizens and of such, parents are no longer to take good care of their children and this has hinder the physical, psychological, academic  and moral development of children in our social . It is on this note that this work seeks to examine Marxism in African literature in relation Gender and Class in Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless

1.3   Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this research work is to investigate Marxism in African literature in relation Gender and Class in Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless

1.4   Significance of the Study

The study shall be of significant to the entire African societies how to seek their rights using Marxist theory. The study shall also be of significant to other researchers who would find this work reliable.

1.5   Objectives of the Study

This research work intends to examine the following objectives;

i to investigate the theory of Marxism in African literature using Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless.

ii  to examine the aims of Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Darko’s Faceless with respect to gender and class.

iii  to portrays the effects of class stratification and poverty in the lives of the fictional characters in the two selected novels

1.6   Research Methodology

This research will basically focus in Chris Egharevba’s Canopy of Thunder and Festus Iyayi’s Violence as the major sources of the study, while the secondary sources will be on literature novels, internet, and library for more information on the research topic.

1.7   Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of this research work will critically be limited to Chris Egharevba’s Canopy of Thunder and Festus Iyayi’s Violence.