Every writer should have an abiding commitment to society expressed through the works of their art. Wole SOYINKA is fascinated by death, the finality of its destructive powers as expressed in “Kongis Harvest”, “Madmen and Specialists” and some others. He also explores the redemptive power of death to offer new beginnings as powerfully demonstrated by how Olunde “committed death” in “Death and the King’s Horseman”.
Chinua Achebe dwelt extensively on the inevitable conflict that arises when two civilizations meet, particularly on unequal terms.
Lucy Nmawuese Jonah in her writings commits to the issues of women and dwells on the experiences associated with womanhood. The issues associated with sexual predation by men leads to the pursuit of dominion over women resulting in crimes of passion like rape and violence. The drive for dominion and carnal pleasure by men provide the underlying foundation for the paternalism prevalent in Africa and establishes the basis and justification for male domination in traditional African society.
In her novel WHEN MEN WERE GODS, Lucy Jonah relies heavily on this theme to tell a sorry tale of womanhood in a traditional society and impliedly advocates for the abandonment of what she condemns to be institutional rape sanctioned by traditional society.
A young maiden whose father had accepted a suitor for marriage and received the bride price is expected to be escorted in a public ceremony to her husbands abode to conjugate and begin the marriage. But out of fright, shyness or rejection of the culture of betrothal, she refuses to be taken to her husband, thereby denying the suitor his conjugal rights and the consummation of the marriage.
This leads to the denied husband making complaints to the elders of the community. The elders then assigned young men to abduct the betrothed girl from wherever and take her to the home of the husband. She was held down while the husband mounted her to conjugate with her and consummate the marriage. Lucy Jonah In her narrative, pontificates on the justness of that action and through the stubbornness of her lead character, breaks the bounds of tradition, leading her to a successful closure in the city.
While modern society would count that action sanctioned by the community as rape, it was a practice mandated and fully accepted in traditional society. Society, including women, accepted the practice as legitimate. Traditional society had a consciousness of and specified punishments for rape but forced conjugal consummation of marriage was sanctioned and accepted as a norm of society and never counted as rape.
So there is a sense of the writer Lucy Jonah judging or evaluating the morality and standards of traditional society with the values of Christianity and modern society. There were crimes of passion in traditional society but these were moderated by the traditions of polygamy and communal living. The fact of the absence of means of birth control and abortion also limited sexual predation and deviant behaviour.
In her novel SHROUDED SECRETS, Lucy Jonah again takes on the theme of rape, this time in the very modern setting of an upscale Abuja home. An episode of incestuous and violent sex leads to the catastrophic awakening of a young woman in medical school to the prevalence and associated devastation of lives arising from rape, particularly incestuous rape. Two themes are explored here with artistic nimbleness. The issues related to the supposed exploitation and ravishing of the female gender which Lucy Jonah refuses to call feminism in an interview and the matter of the prevalence of rape in modern society. She takes a side on the matter of provenance of rape by unabashedly inferring that rape is a crime of men. Crime data however show that women are also guilty of rape.
Her upcoming novel “Lost in the Nectar” takes the matter beyond the pale as Lucy Jonah climbs barriers to bring us face to face with a modern, liberated, hyper-social and sexually wayward and tyrannical African woman… She is a sexual athlete and anarchist on the prowl for men of means and fame who is minded to demolish them in pursuit of reparation for past exploitations. We confront a modern Jezebel and Cleopatra rolled into one sex artist as she takes on church and society in an orgiastic cataclysm and destroys everyone around, including herself.
Reading many of her novels together, Lucy Jonah seems to posit that the liberal attitude of traditional society to male sexuality and male domination of women still rules modern African societies and this is a weakness that causes social and economic disruptions in modern society.
In building her heroines for the success they eventually attain, she ignores the functional and positive role that male assertiveness contribute in building stability and providing good order in both traditional and modern society.
The dominant male is being assailed everywhere in the world today and the alpha male theories are being shoved aside by laws. Deviant sexual practices like homosexuality and bestiality has moderated beliefs about the strong male. Society has embraced liberal attitudes that make the alpha male unwanted. And competitive female education has aided women to achieve near income parity with men making the alpha male a ridicule in the new world of the pliant male.
WATCH OUT FOR THE ONLINE SALES OF THE NOVELS OF LUCY JONAH.
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