Old Women as Repositories of Wisdom: Insights from Novels by Ama Ata Aidoo and Amma Darko

Charles Ofosu Marfo


In this paper, we observe that Amma Darko’s The Housemaid (1998) and Faceless (2003) and Ama Ata Aidoo’s The Girl who Can (1998) are defined by their overt call for change in the current perception accorded old women. In these works, there is seen a clear interrogation of patriarchy, woman-on-woman violence, passivity in women and conservative adherence to unfair cultural stipulations. These works also raise the consciousness of old women by revealing to them once their worth and space in society once again. Imbibe with foresight and backed by experience, these old women, as observed by this paper, have all it takes to assert their pride as repositories of wisdom. However, the challenges of the changing times have had negative influence on some of these old women, making them pursue material gains even at the expense of their dignity. It is this situation that calls for a fresh attention to these works as they seek primarily to equip old women with values that when nurtured will ensure that their society perpetually lends her ears to their (old women) prodding, encouragement and guidance. On a socio-cultural level, the paper observes that these works are designed to re-inscribe the worth of old women and womanism by charting for them road maps through which they can retrieve their dignity and experience self-actualization.


cultural stipulations; old women; patriarchy; wisdom; womanism

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