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Treat every human being with the fear of God believing that we are all from the same source and in that same source we will all return to give account of our earthly dealings with one another

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Analysis of Alice Obong-Eren’s Give Me a Chance

Analysis of Alice Obong-Eren’s Give Me a Chance

             The novel, Give Me a Chance by Alice Obong-Eren is a text written to depict the male negative perception and chauvinism over the female counterparts. The novel presents the obnoxious culture that is inherent in Nigerian society which in turn affects the female children in the society. The text shows the ambitious attitude of a girl who struggles to succeed in life so as to quench the wrong notation on them as being second class and invaluable human being in the society.
             Alice Obong-Eren uses a particular character called Rita who is the protagonist in this novel to show female curiosity and interest towards education. Rita is a girl of aspiration having been born into a polygamous family of Mr. Ikpong, a family of a great rivalry. The trauma here is drawn from the perspective of female discrimination. Hence, female discrimination was common in this community, female children were given no response at all. this was the notion found as a culture, custom and tradition in the society which means that irrespective of the number of children gave birth to without a male child among, the woman and the children may be either treated as useless and the woman concerned sending packing along with the total number of female she delivered. This is the case seen in the novel Give Me a Chance. This is the reason that Rita’s father deprived her the privilege to go into school.
             Rita being born into such a family refuses to accept such a tradition. She becomes desperate with no one to help. She thus determines to go to school in order to erase her mother’s reproach but she lacks sponsor. She would shed tears daily as she sees her mate returning from schools (p .6) but all her tears were in vain. Her father Mr. Ikpong remains adamant and refuses her the opportunity to go to school.
             Rita’s Mother, Mary, once tries to get money from the husband. Mr. Ikpong in order to buy Rita’s uniform but Mr. Ikpong replies  “Woman, have I not told you, to educates a girl is to teach her insubordinate, that is if she doesn’t carry as many pregnancies as the classes she has done somebody who will eventually bear the name of another man?”  (p .7)
And so refuses to give the money. Rita grows up to eight years without starting her primary education but she hoped to be a student someday. Due to her persistent cry, her mother buys her a uniform. With this Rita becomes very happy and immediately starts formal education. She studies very hard and become the best student. She moves over to the secondary school and yet performs tremendously. Yet her Father and the rest of her step –Mothers doubt that Rita cannot make it is that she is a female child and coupled with their jealous mindset. But Rita being that she determines to succeed in life reads very hard so as to accomplish her goals. Though she initially experiences difficulties in terms of financial support she gradually forges ahead up to the University level where she studies medicine and surgery. This is made possible by the help of her uncle who works as a banker in Lagos. She studies day and night and does not relent over her studies. Her Uncle John supports her immensely by sponsoring her in all ramifications. In the end, she graduated. Based on her hard work toward studies, she is singled out as the student in her school and awarded prizes. Rita eventually becomes a medical doctor who caters to all kinds of sickness and as such owns a private Clinic. Mr. Ikpong’s hope despaired and Rita whom he (Mr. Ikpong) contributed nothing towards her educational success is saved from death by Dr. Rita. Rita turns to be “the rejected stone which turns to be the chief cornerstone”.
The aspect of Moral reformation in the text is when Mr. Ikpong discovers that the a tradition that forbids parents sending female children to school because of they are another man’s property, rather, they should stay at home with their mother and learn how to cook and keep the house clean so as to prepare them for marriage is not the best, rather, female and male children should be treated equally and none should be neglected. Even when Da Ifilok tries to convince him by saying that the palm wine is like a woman who cannot bear a son, all she bears are girls, he was unaware of Mr. Ikpong’s recent conviction about daughters. Mr. Ikpong says
“Da Ifiok, that is not a very good comparison. Some daughters are better than sons, he responded
But how? Okay because your daughter is now a doctor; Owo retorted.
We have been behaving wickedly towards our daughters, do you realize this?
Well?  me, I have only sons and should add at least a daughter, do you realize this?
Yes, after all, you married somebody’s daughter;
You too!
And a woman breastfed you, I mean literally gave you life, cuddle you and watched you grow!
So what? isn’t it their duty?
Nursed you in sickness much more than your old man!
I know, like Rita is nursing all of you.
Aren’t you lucky?
In fact, they do more then you have enumerated;
But why do we treat them as inferior and second class human beings and even deny them an education? Culture, African culture, and tradition. An irrevocable convention and it is deep-rooted.
Culture? tradition? even though it is unhealthy, unhelpful and harmful;
Yes though harmful than our tradition needs overhauling (P. 58-59).

Mr. Ikpong who never had the intention of loving his female children and the mother began to reconcile and the bad notion he had towards his female children is now reformed to a good one and he even went as far in thinking that African culture should be looked into in order to favor female children in the society. As he was reformed, he also tried to reform his friends in order for them not to have that bad notion towards their female children. He went further to call for a meeting where he reconciles with Mary and her children’s and promised not to ever put on that bad moral that nearly destroyed his family. He also tries to make sure that Ekamma, Nnene and their children both male and female are reformed from their bad habit of hatred toward Mary and her children. He says ” They must not be any antagonism or hatred in this family again. Every child is important and no child should be despised” (p. 62). He put a smile to all his co-wives and their children, and they all reconciled to the extent that Rita promised to sponsor Inem at school. She also advised him to collect money from her the following day and put in for the school certificate examination for private candidates at the continuing Education center, while Iboro was asked to enroll in a Driving school where he would learn driving since he was not University incline.
          Finally, Mr. Ikpong asked for a cup of water and drank a little from it and passed it to every member of his family, starting from the first wife. This action heralds the advent of peace and harmony in my house and as the last child drank Mr. Ikpong concluded: “and I sealed it with this drink! The people chorused - amen in unison” (p. 64).
          Mr. Ikpong with happiness in his heart, he puts a new name to Mary “Ima-Mmi” and also warns that nobody is allowed to hate her or any of her children. They hugged one another and dispersed from the sitting room in genuine happiness

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