The marital experience of Tisa in the prodigal husband (1991) as a response to the irony in the joys of motherhood (1979)
In many books by African writers, bearing children, particularly male children, is of great importance for a woman. Childbearing proves womanhood, and a woman who has a son (or sons) is held in high esteem because she enables the continuation of her husband’s lineage. The woman who has children also secures herself a happy old age in the sense that her offspring will assist her. However, African female writers have questioned this paramount importance granted to bearing children. Thus, Buchi Emecheta in The Joys of Motherhood presents a woman, Nnu Ego, who yearned for having children. She finally had them. But ironically, her sons, whom she expected would support her when they grew up, went abroad and cut off all contacts with her, which “broke her” and contributed greatly to her early death. The object of this article is to explain why Nnu Ego’s example is an exception. The reference to the matrimonial experience of Tisa in Lazarus Miti’s The Prodigal Husband enables to explain why such a misfortune has befallen Nnu Ego. Leaning on sociology, culture, psychology as theories and cultural criticism as literary criticism, the paper will consist in analyzing the two reasons which account for Nnu Ego’s disillusionment, that is to say her misconception of marriage and her failure to give her children a good upbringing.