Gender Frustration in the African Novel: Matters Arising
In many countries of the world especially in Africa, men have enjoyed patriarchal domination over their female counterparts. This subjugated position women are expected to maintain is reflected in the character representation of women in some male-authored African novels. In recent times however, the focus is gradually shifting from inter-gender conflict to intra-gender conflict as well as trans-sexualism in the African novel. This aspect of gender discourse has not enjoyed adequate scholarly attention. Womanism, Marxist Feminism and Intertextuality are adopted as the theoretical framework of the study. This study adopts content analysis of two texts: Night Dancer by Chika Unigwe (West Africa), and Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz (North Africa). The reading and analysis of the selected texts reveal that trans-sexualism is on the front-burner of gender discourse in the African novel. In the contemporary African novel, there have been instances of male/female writers writing in favour of the opposite sex. This is evident in Palace Walk, where the writer, through the characterisation of the protagonist, Jawad, shows empathy for the plight of women in a patriarchal society. More so, there is the issue of intra-gender conflict in contemporary African novels. This is reflected in the conflict between mother and daughter in Night Dancer. The paper proffers a new approach to gender discourse in contemporary African novel in which case the focus is no longer on inter-gender conflicts in which male/female writers antagonise the opposite sex. Rather, there is an intra-gender conflict which reveals an apparent dynamic shift in the gender discourse of the African novel.