Psychological Pathologies in Postcolonial African Women’s Novels: A Reading of Two Novels by Nawalel Saadawi
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AbstractSeveral African societies, having experienced colonialism are currently facing widespread socio-cultural as well as political disharmonies. As long-term spinoffs of that singular event, these disharmonies culminate in crises of identities at individual and collective levels. For African women in particular, perhaps the most pervasive event that has so deeply affected their psyche is the colonial event. This essay bestrides both feminist and psychoanalytical fields of inquiry in order to understand some of the emergent multiple identities of postcolonial African women. As subjects, these women struggle with masculinist ideologies and institutions that authorise their derogation. The immediate and central concern in this essay, therefore, is with Postcolonial African women’s identities and how female novelists formulate new and acceptable self images. From theliterary repertoire of foremost Egyptian, psychiatrist, writer and feminist activist, Nawal El Saadawi, there are indications which suggest she calls for the subversion of the familiar Egypto-Islamic structures of masculinised religious and economic institutions and cultural practices. This essay focuses attention on the female protagonists in two of El Saadawi’s novels in order to uncover the postcolonial pathologies of the novelist’s women, and demonstrate how these women are engaged in the process of formulating new identities for themselves.