On Black Sisters Street Essay

Submitted By raniervillar
Words: 1320
Pages: 6

In the novel On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe, there are four African American girls, Sisi, Joyce, Ama, and Efe, who all have in common one man. They have been brought together or united by obligation because of this powerful Nigerian businessman. Throughout the novel Chika Unigwe shows many situations where patriarchy takes place. “Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property” (CC-BY-SA, 2003).The author represents Patriarchy in this novel because she wants to show the role that men take in society. Men in this novel are generally represented as drunks, murderers, rapists, weak, cold- hearted and pathetic. They have control over these four women. Oga Dele was a dominant character who connected these girls together. As each girl tells her story we wait for the part she’ll mention Dele. It’s almost like this man wrecked these girls’ lives even though he gave them a choice to prostitute themselves or keep living the life they were living. This man gives them false dreams and hope. He knows exactly what to say and knows how to manipulate. Ama says "Oga Dele just wanted to help. What choices did we have back home, eh? Oga Dele is trying to give happiness." And Joyce challenges Ama by responding “and are we really happy”. (Pg.98,99). He trys to make it seem like they will earn lots of money and at the same time they can pay him euros. “Every month I send gals to Europe. Antwerp. Milan. Madrid. My gals dey there. Every month, four gals. Sometimes five or more,” he boasts to Sisi when she first visits his office. He is actually benefiting himself and does not care about these women. Even if these women had a choice to sign a contract with him, there life styles push them to agree on it. “ Dele’s offer is brutally upfront: the fee he charges his “gals” for spiriting them into the longed-for West is 30,000 euros, a debt that, combined with the rent they will owe “Madam,” will take many years to repay. Yet each of these four women accepts Dele’s hard bargain, simply because their alternatives are worse.”( Fernanda Eberstadt). When Ama was a young girl she was raped by her step-father. She was forced to keep silence and told her secrets to her pink walls. Her mother was a Christian lady who was controlled by this man who they called Brother Cyril. There have been many cases in society today where child abuse or rape is allowed by the mother of the victim child. Ama trys to tell her mother one day and her mother responds with “Shut up Ama! Shut up. Mechie Onu” (Pg 125), along with a slap on the face. Her mother was too scared to defend her child, she was afraid a man was going to kick her out the house where she was living. This man is shown as a monster. Patriarchy takes place in this part of the story. He thinks he’s the man of the house so he has the power to rape an 8 year old girl and get away with it. He is extremely ignorant and does not care about how he has affected this young girl’s life forever. In society these men still exsits. They think they have the power to rape women of all ages just because they feel they have control or more power over them. According to Robert Jensen, Feminism challenges acts of male dominance and analyzes the underlying patriarchal ideology that tries to make that dominance seem inevitable and immutable. Second-wave radical feminists in the second half of the 20th century identified men’s violence against women—rape, child sexual assault, domestic violence and various forms of harassment—as a key method of patriarchal control, and made a compelling argument that sexual assault cannot be understood outside of an analysis of patriarchy’s ideology.” Ama has never had a real father and becomes a sex worker, the fact of the matter is she is trying to find a father figure in all these men she sleeps with and at the same time