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The Joys Of Motherhood Or Not

The Joys Of Motherhood (Or Not…) Essay, Research Paper

The Joys of Motherhood…

(…Or Not)

Buchi Emecheta?s choice of title for her book The Joys of Motherhood

is very ironic. I believe she chose this title in order to make the reader reflect

upon the various meanings this book takes on, one of them certainly being

how much of a struggle motherhood is for anyone, but particularly Nnu Ego.

?…it occurred to Nnu Ego that she was a prisoner, imprisoned by her

love for her children…? Nnu Ego is a loving mother, and this is expected

since the birth of her son is what earns her some face in this village. And yet

her love is so utterly and entirely devoted that she loses respect for herself in

the struggle ensure the flourishing of her children. She realizes this, but her

plummet toward insanity is already on its way, so she goes on without

making the changes that would be necessary in order for her to continue a

healthy life.

Nnu Ego?s journey in search of happiness ends with her becoming a

mother, and after that she seems happy through her thoughts, but when one

takes a step outside her little world and point of view, it becomes quite

apparent that she is living in physical misery. ?Nnu Ego … crawled further

into the urine-stained mats on her bug ridden bed, enjoying the knowledge of

her motherhood.? This quote illustrates the fact that Nnu Ego lives a very

unhealthy life whether she is happy or not.

Her children are everything to Nnu Ego, and since she sacrifices

everything for them, she must experience happiness through them. She

wants them to be successful, and cares not about her life and whether she is

successful or not. A quote that represents this idea very well is on p.202,

?Her joy was to know that she had brought up her children when they had

started out with nothing, and that those same children might rub shoulders

one day with the great men of Nigeria.?

A very ironic theme in the book is the role of men and women.

Toward the end of the book when Naife is old and fat, he grows angry at

Nnu Ego and tells her ? ?…I was not created to suffer for you till I die.? ?

Ironically, Nnu Ego suffers for her husband and her children till she dies, and

even in death she suffers for them. She ?understands? that men own

everything, including her children and herself.

?The joy of being a mother was giving all to your children…? Nnu Ego

believed this and ?obeyed? it and still she ended up dying in a ditch. But was

her life as a mother a failure? Not to her children, but to her. And, according

to this quote that?s how it should be. I?m not so sure I want kids. I might be

a little too selfish.