Gender Issues in Alcohol Consumption: A Study of Equiano’s Travels, Nwapa’s Efuru and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Main Article Content

Uche Uwaezuoke Okonkwo
Ngozi Anyachonkeya

Abstract

This paper appraises gender issues in alcohol consumption in Africa, in terms of processing and control using Oladuah Equiano’s autobiography- Equiano’s Travels, Flora Nwapa’s Efuru, and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. These three literary texts are thoughtfully chosen for the study, in view of the fact that Equiano pioneered African literature, and advanced by Flora Nwapa and Chinua Achebe in their debut, Efuru and Things Fall Apart, published in 1966 and 1958, respectively. In Equiano’s Travels, published in 1789, Equiano capture and document the Igbo lifestyle in its nativity. Scholars have attempted to look at the works of these literary titans from several perspectives and themes but, to the best of the knowledge of these researchers, they have not enquired into the Igbo lifestyle in alcohol consumption and given it the desired academic attention as amply presented in the literary works of these literary paragons and pathfinders, as the present study intends to do. While Achebe looks at the traditional humane living of Igbo society in the hinterland in its pre-colonial period, Nwapa discusses the lifestyle and folkways of Igbo Lake people of Oguta. Nwapa presents a segment of this Igbo society, which grants women access to alcoholic drink in the public, in sharp contrast to the rest of Igbo society that restricts women from drinking the same liqueur. Likely, the ample liberty and tremendous respect accorded to the female folk in Oguta Igbo subculture may be responsible for this, coupled with the fact that the river deity of the Lake, Uhamiri goddess, may have provided further evidence to the improved status accorded to women. Thus, Nwapa in the pages of her literary works, especially in Efuru and One Is Enough, brings to our doorstep the lifestyle and folkways of Ogbuide Lake people of Oguta, which enable women to enjoy this unrestricted liberty of self-expression and audacious access to alcoholic drinks at the profane gaze of men, as it was. Equiano, through his travails and escapades of slavery, shows the changing trends in alcohol drinking and culture especially the differences in female drinking cultures based on geography and climate. Today, the ethos of Igbo society has changed remarkably. The paper seeks to investigate these details using Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Nwapa’s Efuru as well as Equiano’s Travels, our texts of focus. The inquiry is essentially literary or library research.

Keywords:
Gender issues, alcohol consumption, self-expression, alcohol drinking.

Article Details

How to Cite
Okonkwo, U. U., & Anyachonkeya, N. (2019). Gender Issues in Alcohol Consumption: A Study of Equiano’s Travels, Nwapa’s Efuru and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 31(4), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.9734/jesbs/2019/v31i430155
Section
Review Article

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