The ‘Generalized Other’: Good Woman in African Fiction (Published)
A considerable number of works have examined the image of the African woman in literary texts especially from the feminist perspective. This paper approaches this theme from a different perspective. It extends George Herbert Mead’s theory of The ‘Generalized Other’ which is most often used in the field of sociology and the social sciences to explore the ‘good’ woman in selected works of African fiction. The aim is to underscore the fact that the stereotypic image of the ‘good’ woman is created to serve the enterprise of patriarchy. This study demonstrates that the African woman’s inability to assert her self-identity earns her the title ‘good’ woman. The paper therefore calls for a deconstruction of the phallocentric structures that make it impossible for the woman to arrive at self-reclamation. The paper concludes that it is only when this is done that ‘goodness’ can be appreciated as a virtue of African womanhood.
Keywords: African fiction, Good Woman, The Generalized Other