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Kelemo’s Woman, Porcelain, The Rich Man’s School Essay

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Updated: Aug 23rd, 2020

Agitation of social emancipation and economic independence has been a focal theme that authors write about incessantly. Essentially, the need to “redeem” the human race from the yolk of mental servitude, oppressive dogmas, and severe conservationism has been very salient in 21st-century literature. Providently, several authors tend to tether their literary publications on the role of women in society. The call to agitate for social reforms and affirmative action through literary discourse has formed the nerve of the thematic content of the contemporary literary discourse.

Lauri Kubuitsile explores the effects of racial segregation and the position occupied by the women in the society. In her book, The Rich People’s School, the writer uses the main character, Sylvia, to highlight the issues of class struggles and parenthood in society. Sylvia is the victim of her mother’s irrational decisions. She carries the burden of “rejection” when the mother’s husband, a white man, outrightly rejects her and socially “confines” her to stay with her grandmother. The theme of the story is further developed when Sylvia is admitted to a school synonymous with the rich and opulent in society. She feels rather rejected as other students look down upon her on realizing that her origin is nothing but abject poverty. Kubuitsile uses Sylvia to outline the struggles of the feminine gender in society. The inclement of society hit the woman from all sides yet there is a struggle for recognition in the society. The author also outlines the vulnerability of a woman in society.

Henrietta Rose-Innes affirms the need to shape the agitation for social emancipation to focus on redeeming the value of the feminine gender. In all her works, the author seems to be the voice of the voiceless. She talks for those whose voices have been submerged in the “turmoil” of oppression and aggression. Specifically, her biases towards the female gender have earned her a place as a “liberator.” In her work Porcelain, the author talks about the sibling bond. Her obvious advocacy for the strengthening of the fabrics of sibling relationships is quite clear as developed by the main character, Marion, brought up by her aunts. The story can be paralleled to Kubuitsile’s The Rich People’s School, which puts emphasis on parenting. The two works are very successful in juxtaposing parenthood in their specific societies. Marion’s adoption by her aunts, Belle and Amelia, signifies the issue of parenthood in the two books.

Molara Wood further emphasizes the struggle for liberation in Kelemo’s Woman. Motherhood seems to be the focus of the author. Wood highlights the situation before and after the coup. She outlines the life of the activists involved in the struggle. The writer is cognizant of the role of the women in the struggle for social justice, and she uses Kelemo’s wife to develop the theme further. The authors have brought out the theme of maternal love while explaining the relationship between Iriola and her mother. A keen analysis of the three collections, Kelemo’s Woman, Porcelain, and The Rich Man’s School depicts the foundations from which all three authors have built their stories – parenthood and the women struggle.

Lauri’s work is a huge contrast from the other two literary works by Molara Wood and Henrietta Rose. The concept of motherly love seems to be quite “alien” in the book The Rich Man’s School. A critical study of the three works reveals a deep contrast in the thematic orientation of the content despite their obviously similar motifs as witnessed in the dispositions of the authors. Sylvia’s mother, for instance, perfidies the conventional canons of motherly love, she confines her daughter to stay with the grandmother as she travels away with her husband. Her desire to go to America is overwhelming, and so when the new husband rejects her proposal to carry Sylvia along, she does not fight enough to “retain” her daughter. Nevertheless, the grandmother takes up the responsibility and lives up to the task. There is an absolute gap between Sylvia’s mother and the Marion’s.

The love between Marion and her mother is humongous. Despite the condition of the mother, the motherly love is quite prominent as depicted by the author. The writer has further proceeded to outline the issues of “identity” in the book. Marion is lost between her identity as her “mother’s daughter” and her life as the “aunt’s daughter.” The author portrays the two sides of Marion albeit summarily in the work to expose the vagaries of parenthood especially in cases of adoption. Incidentally, Molara outlines the relationship between Iriola, Kelemo’s wife, as the quintessential mother-child relationship. Iriola is a recipient of her incessant motherly advice even under the waves of politic. A mother’s care is clearly made manifest on how they relate. She is quite hesitant to escape and leave her mother in the morgue unburied and later ensures that the woman is given a decent burial. Unlike the case of Sylvia, the strong family bonds are clearly outlined.

For a critical reader, it becomes clear to see the thematic demarcations that the three writers “built” across their stories. Issues of parenthood and the variables involved in decision making regarding parenting have been illuminated. Moreover, the struggle for identity that arises out of “dual parenting” has formed the nerves of the three literary works.

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