Representations of Fatherhood and Pre-colonial Masculine Otherness in Flora Nwapa’s Idu (1970).


  • Fatiha Bouanani PhD student University of Liverpool



Masculinities, crisis, Oppressed, patriarchy


Drawing on Nwapa’s representations of pre-colonial definitions of West African manhood, I will examine the interrelated ways of the male characters’ perception and yet distinctive ways of responding to pre-colonial hegemonic masculinity represented in Idu. Moreover, this chapter explores the narrative irony used by Nwapa to redefine notions of producing children, contest polygamy, and interrogate indigenous pre-colonial constructions of manhood in the novel. Her interrogation of indigenous masculinity constructions encourages us to recognize that representations of contemporary masculinities are constantly linked to pre-colonial patriarchal definitions of manhood, as will be shown throughout the following chapters. Using a qualitative research approach, my research paper argues that Nwapa, in Idu, exposes that the Nigerian pre-colonial association of hegemonic masculinity with ‘virility’ proves to be harmful, too powerful to be resisted, dehumanizing, and tragic. I contend that although a woman’s childlessness is presented to be equally painful, the novel sheds more light on the complexity of male infertility, and uses the ironic narrative as a mechanism to contest pre-colonial indigenous constructions of manhood in the Igbo society, redefining the Igbos’ attachment to producing children.