| Emecheta's work:|
Second Class Citizen
writes about her experiences in the book Second Class Citizen
in the person of Ada. Buchi and Ada were considered second class
citizens ( people without value) at that time in the 1960s both
because they were women and because they were Black.
As a girl, Ada - like Emecheta herself - had fewer choices than
boys and was considered less important in traditional Ibo culture.
In the opening pages of Second Class Citizen, Emecheta
describes Adah's dream of going to the United Kingdom - and
her place in the community as just a girl...
...she was a girl...
Like Buchi Emecheta, Adah has a dream - a dream of going to
paradise, the United Kingdom - which her father has praised
all through her childhood as 'the Kingdom of God', for her it
was the Promised Land.
still like the first part of Second Class Citizen where I thought
the United Kingdom was the Kingdom of God but when I came here
I thought 'oh my god, papa, that England is not the kingdom
of God we thought it is', and I think I made this statement
there : 'if I'd been Jesus I would pass England by , I wouldn't
leave a single blessing' - because it was cold, it was damp,
everything was dirty - so that part just came from the heart."|
Other themes: writing her life
Many of Emecheta's books seem to be heavily influenced by her
own experiences and real events - but she didn't start out with
the intention of writing about her life:
first book I wrote was The Bride Price which was a romantic
book, but my husband burnt the book when he saw it. I was the
typical African woman, I'd done this privately, I wanted him
to look at it, approve it and he said he wouldn't read it. And
later he burnt the book and I think by that time this urge to
write had become more important to me than he realised, and
that was the day I said I'm going to leave this marriage and
he said "what for, that stupid book" and I said "I just feel
you just burn my child""|
"Francis was burning her story"
She dedicates Second Class Citizen to her children "without
whose sweet background noises this book would not have been
written" . She describes sitting at her typewriter in the kitchen,
surrounded by young children and mess - for her children and
creativity are strongly linked..
at that time, because of the noises and things, for one reason
or the other we were all in the kitchen. I always value my large
kitchen because it was better to do everything there, you wash
up, you do everything, rather than messing up another room and
I pop my typewriter just next to it. So I still write now but
I was doing more writing when the children were younger."|
Second Class Citizen (1975), Heinemann International Literature
The Slave Girl: A Novel (1980), Heinemann International
Bride Price (1980), Heinemann International Literature