PATRICK REVIEW-A DETAILED REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF ZIKORA BY CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

PATRICKETAILED REVIEWS- ZIKORA BY CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICH

Title: Zikora

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Number of Pages: 30

Genre: Fiction

Form: E-book

DESCRIPTION OF THE AUTHOR

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Purple Hibiscus ; Half of a Yellow Sun , which won the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction; Americanah , which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a New York Times , Washington Post , Chicago Tribune , and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year; the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck ; and the essays We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions . A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

BOOK REVIEW

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of the great writers this generation is blessed with. And after Seven years, Adichie has given us another book called Zikora. Zikora was published under Amazon original Stories on the 27th of October, 2020. The book became instantly famous on the internet and is selling very fast on Amazon.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie released her first work of fiction since Americanah (2013)! I was happy when I heard the news. I have read some of her books, fiction and non-fiction and they are amazing. Her latest work, Zikora deserve every hype.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie never fails to deliver, her book ZIKORA is told from the perspective of a 39 years-old Nigerian lawyer living in Washington D. C. who gets pregnant and is jilted by her partner kwame. Her mother comes to town in time for the birth and makes ZIKORA feel happy again after much experience from her absconded lover Kwame, this causes her to reflect on her childhood and life in general, and causes her to see her mother s in a different light.

Base on my review of the short story, it touches on:

  1. Existence of a polygamous Marriage
  2. Existence  of a true friendship
  3. Existence of Patriarchy
  4. Existence of single motherhood and motherhood
  5. Dysfunctional  relationships – Zikora ugly experiences in romance and her family
  6. Sexism
  7. Childbirth and child bearing
  8. Pregnancy
  9. Abortion
  10. Competition
  11. Negligence of Primogeniture
  12. sex education
  13. description of feeling and love
  14. personality change
  15. gender roles
  16. paternal absenteeism  in relations to denial and rejection
  17. domestic violence-physical(rape), psychology and social abuse
  18. circumcision
  19. maternal mortality in black women
  1. EXISTENCE OF POLYGAMOUS MARRIAGE

For a start let know what is the meaning of marriage and polygamy in this context for our readers.

DEFINITION OF THE TERM MARRIAGE

  1. According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies around the world, not only between cultures and between religions, but also throughout the history of any given culture and religion. Over time, it has expanded and also constricted in terms of who and what is encompassed.

  • According to Cambridge dictionary.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/english/marriage

A legally accepted relationship between two people in which they live together, or the official ceremony that results in this:

They had a long and happy marriage.

She went to live in another state after the break-up of her marriage.

She has two daughters by her first marriage.

DEFINITION OF POLYGAMY

According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy#:~:text=Polygamy%20(from%20Late%20Greek%20%CF%80%CE%BF%CE%BB%CF%85%CE%B3%CE%B1%CE%BC%CE%AF%CE%B1,time%2C%20it%20is%20called%20polyandry

Polygamy (, polygamía, “state of marriage to many spouses”) is the practice of marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this polygyny. When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry.

REFERENCES OF POLYGAMOUS MARRIAGE IN ZIKORA

From the above definition of marriage and polygamy, it’s clear that there is an existence of such in the book ZIKORA.

The story touched polygamy, the struggle of a man trying to be there for his two wives but hurting one in the process. I don’t like that Zikora’s father completely moved out to be with the new wife.

 Zikora’s mother and Aunty Nwanneka (Zikora step mum) share in the nature of polygamy in the short story. Zikora give a vivid view of an experience in a polygamous marriage.

The following are the existence of polygamous marriage in the novel with reference below and its page number:

REFERENCE 1

———- Once, I was about nine, and my father’s second wife, Aunty Nwanneka, had just had a baby, my brother Ugonna (“Your half brother ,”my mother always said). To visit the baby, my mother asked me to wear a going-out dress, red and full skirted, as though for church. Aunty Nwanneka offered us plantain and fish, the house smelled of delicious frying, and my mother said no thank you, that we had just eaten, but when I went to pee, I told Aunty Nwanneka I was hungry, and she brought me a plate, smiling, her face plump and fresh. Later, as we walked to the car, my mother slapped me. “Don’t disgrace me like that again,” she said calmly, and for a long time I remembered the sudden vertigo, feeling surprise rather than pain as her palm struck the back of my head. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 6, 7 Zikora, amazon original stories       

REFERENCE 2

———- I was eight when my mother told me that my father would marry another wife, but nothing would change; we would still live in our house, but sometimes Daddy would visit her in her house, not far from ours. “Your father will live here,” my mother said with emphasis. “He will always come home to us.” She made coming home to us sound like a victory. “But why is he marrying another wife?” I asked. “I don’t want a new mummy.”

“She’s not your new mummy. Just your aunty.” Aunty Nwanneka. My father took me to her house, a brief visit, on our way to his tennis club. She was young, plump, skin glistening as though dipped in oil. She smiled and smiled. She slipped in and out of the parlor and each time reappeared with a new source of pleasure for me: chocolates, chin-chin, Fanta.

She called me Ziko, not Zikky like everyone else, and I liked that it sounded older, that she took me seriously. I liked her. Only later did I see how, to survive, she wielded her niceness like a subtle sharp knife. In America, I began to call her my father’s other wife, because people assumed “second wife” was the woman my father had married when he was no longer married to my mother. But with Kwame I said “second wife,” because he understood. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 22, Zikora, Amazon Original Stories       

REFERENCE 3

———- Senior wife. My aunty Uzo, my father’s sister, said “senior wife” like a title, a thing that came with a crown. “You are the senior wife, nothing will change that,” Aunty Uzo told my mother a few days after my father moved out of our house. My brother (my half brother) Ugonna, only in primary school, had been caught cheating on an exam. A teacher saw him sneak out a piece of paper from his pocket and shouted at him to hand it over, but instead of giving up the paper, Ugonna threw it in his mouth and swallowed. My father decided to move in with Aunty Nwanneka to set Ugonna right. “He needs to see me every morning when he wakes up. Boys can so easily go wrong, girls don’t go wrong,” he told my mother. It was a Sunday, with the slow lassitude of Sundays in the air, and we were in the living room upstairs, playing cards, as we always did after lunch, before my father left to spend the rest of the day at Aunty Nwanneka’s.

I remembered that afternoon in drawn-out, static images: my father blurting out the words, eyes trained on the cards in his hand, words he must have been thinking about how to say for days, and my mother staring at him, her body so rigid and still.

Later, she stood at the top of the stairs, in my father’s way, as he tried to go downstairs. She reached out and pushed him backward, and he, surprised, tottered. “This is not what we agreed!” she shouted. She was a different person, shaken, splintered, and she held on to the railings as though she might fall. My father left anyway. The next day, his workers moved his clothes and books, his collection of tennis rackets, his study desk, to Aunty Nwanneka’s house.

For weeks I spoke to my mother only in sullen monosyllables, because I thought she could have better handled it. If she had not raised her voice, if she had not pushed him, my father would not have left. For some months my parents were estranged. My father did not visit us; he sent his driver to pick me up on weekends and bring me to his tennis club, where we drank Chapmans and he told me jokes but said nothing about moving out of our house. ———-s

                                                                                    pg. 24, 25 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  • EXISTENCE  OF A TRUE FRIENDSHIP

The story gave an insight to what true friendship should be like. Zikora’s relationship with her cousin Mmiliaku is a great case study. True friends don’t mock you, they stand up for you in troubled times and they keep your secrets.

According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship#:~:text=Friendship%20is%20a%20relationship%20of,psychology%2C%20anthropology%2C%20and%20philosophy.

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association, and has been studied in academic fields such as communication, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, including social exchange theory, equity theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles.

Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of such bonds. Such characteristics include affection; kindness, love, virtue, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, loyalty, generosity, forgiveness, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings to others, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. Friendship is an essential aspect of relationship building skills.

ACCORDING TO THE SITE BETTERHELP

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/what-is-the-real-definition-of-a-true-friend/#

The definition of a true friend is someone who has your back, no matter what. They watch out for you and ensure you are not in danger. They will never purposely lead you into making decisions that aren’t good for you.

A true friend is different from other kinds of friends or acquaintances because they possess certain qualities and take actions that stand them out consistently and make them real.

REFERENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF A TRUE FRIENDSHIP IN ZIKORA

The story gave an insight to what true friendship should be like. Zikora’s relationship with her cousin Mmiliaku is a great case study. The following were characteristic of the friendship exhibited by Mmiliaku and Zikora:

  • True friends don’t mock you,
  • they stand up for you in troubled times
  • They keep your deepest secrets.
  • A True Friend Has your Back
  • They’re Authentic and Honest with You
  • They Accept You for You
  • They Want What’s Best for You
  • They Don’t Abandon You

The following reference to the existence of friendship has seen in the novel with its page number below its

REFERENCE 1

———- Water, this is why it’s best to wait for the right person, and not just settle,” I said over FaceTime to my cousin Mmiliaku. I was boasting actually, a callous boast. Only days before, Mmiliaku had said, “Emmanuel still waits until I’m asleep, then he climbs on me, and of course I’m dry and I wake up in pain. Sixteen years.” She had settled. She had been living at home after university graduation, working as contract staff in telecom customer service, the kind of middling job that asked little of her and promised nothing to her. Her parents expected her home before 9:00 p.m. every day, her penniless boyfriend lived in his uncle’s Boys Quarters and was looking for money to go to China and try his luck in import-export. And then came Emmanuel, older and wealthy, holding his intentions like jewels. To marry Emmanuel was her only way into the world of adults. I did not understand this then. I had moved to America for college, and after a few years away, the pressures of Nigerian life seemed easier to overcome. Why didn’t she run off to China with the guy she loved? What did “It’s time to get married” mean, anyway? Why did she have to marry at all?

She had laughed at me. “Please, I am not in America like you. Daddy will never allow me to get my own place. And Emmanuel is nice.” Nice. “I don’t think that is how to describe a man you want to marry,” I told her. Nice. And Mmiliaku laughed some more. Mmiliaku, my cousin with the beautiful name, water of wealth, wealth’s water, wealth like a river. The cousin that was like a sister, clever. Mmiliaku, who had advised me and taught me things, was now marrying a man who had asked her to stop working because he could afford to keep her at home. They had been married only a few weeks when Emmanuel said he didn’t want her best friend to visit them anymore because married women shouldn’t keep single friends.

I once told Kwame the story, and he rolled his eyes in a kind of disbelieving amusement. “What, the single friend will seduce the husband, or the single friend will make the wife want to be single again?” “Maybe both?” “He sounds like a sad specimen,” Kwame said. I liked the description “sad specimen,” because it cast Emmanuel as apart, a different species of man, and therefore completely removed from Kwame himself. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 10 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- “Stop reading his texts,” Mmiliaku told me on FaceTime. “You’ll start questioning everything, and wondering if any of it was even real.” “Yes,” I said, but I didn’t question whether it was real, because I knew it was. I questioned where it had gone. How could emotions just change? Where did it go, the thing that used to be? Each time I called, I felt newly surprised at the burr-burr-burr of his phone ringing unanswered. How could he have turned, and so quickly? I knew him well, but I could not have known him well. He was lovely, he truly was. Silence was not his fighting tool; he was a man who talked things through. But he ignored my calls and texts, and sent back my apartment key in an envelope, the lone metal key wrapped in plain paper. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 13 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

———- “I just want them to know I can handle it, I can do it alone,” I said. “Some of us have men and are still doing it alone,” Mmiliaku said. She could have gloated. She could have asked, “Isn’t this the perfect man you won by deciding not to settle?” She could have been passive aggressive, or resentful, or lectured me in that world-weary way of a woman who believed that men would be men. But she didn’t, and so with the light streaming through my apartment window, I began to weep because my cousin had grace and I lacked grace. I cried and cried. I no longer had friends, all my time so focused on Kwame. I cried and cried, and even though people said crying made them feel better, it made me feel frightened and small. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 14 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 4

———- “I just don’t understand it. It’s as if an artery burst inside him and suddenly his whole body is wired differently and he is no longer the person he was,” I told Mmiliaku. “I don’t understand how we could have unprotected sex for so long and then when I get pregnant, he reacts like he never knew it could happen.” “Zikky, have you considered that maybe he didn’t know?”

“What do you mean?” “Men know very little about women’s bodies.” I felt betrayed by her. I was annoyed, and wanted to tell her that not everyone was her Emmanuel, warped and stunted, raping her while she slept.

“How can you say that?” I asked. “Seriously. Men don’t know how women’s bodies work. Remember Amaka, my friend from university? She moved to Canada some years ago. She has a blog where she interviews men anonymously. You should read it.” ———-

                                                                                    pg. 15 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 5

Here they Mmiliaku review to her about her pregnancy and how she was ready to remove it and keep it away from her husband, in these context the only person she can tell was her best friend Zikora.

  1.  As if Mmiliaku sensed this, she asked, “Remember when I called you from Nitel?” When I called you from Nitel.

                                                                                     pg. 16a Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  • “Zikky,” she said. “Water!” I said. “What number is this?” “I’m pregnant,” she said. Right away something felt off, her flat tone didn’t match her news. “Ah-ah,” I said. Her fifth child was six months old.

“I should have put in the coil, but I was waiting for my stitches to heal well first, and then I had to deal with the nipple infection and then Baby’s pneumonia, and I just forgot.” She was crying. “Water, calm down.” “Amuchago m,” she said. “I’m done having children.”

We mostly spoke English; Igbo was for mimicking relatives and for saying painful things. When our grandmother died, Mmiliaku had called me and said, “Mama-Nnukwu anwugo,” with a firmness that gave no room. I had no choice but to accept the news. She sounded the same now as she said, “Amuchago m.”

                                                                                    pg. 16b Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  • “Amuchago m,” she said again. “Water, I understand. Do you know where you’ll go?” “I’ll ask Dr. Ngozi. I trust her.” “It will be okay. I’ll send the money today. I wish I could be there with you.”

Nigerian banks were not yet modernized, online transfers didn’t exist, and so I drove, windscreen frosted with ice, to a Western Union. I sent her the money in dollars, so she could get the best rates on the black market, and she hid it in her daughter’s underwear drawer, where Emmanuel would never go, until she went to a discreet doctor’s clinic.

                                                                                    pg. 16c Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 6

———- How do some memories insist on themselves? I remembered the night of Aunty Nwanneka’s birthday party. A big party. Canopies ringed by balloons had been set up in her compound. My mother asked me not to go. It was shortly after my father had moved out of our house, the strain between my parents still ripe and raw. “Stay and stand by me,” my mother said, and I scoffed silently, thinking she was being dramatic. Chill out, it’s not as if this is a blood feud. I went to the party. When I came home, unsteady from the wine Mmiliaku and I had drunk straight from the bottles, our househelp let me in. ———-

pg. 27 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 7

Here Zikora talk about her cousin Mmiliaku who kept her secret of being pregnant  while she was an undergraduate during her university day.

———- “Mummy, I would die for him,” I said, partly to make peace with her and partly because I needed to speak this miraculous momentous thing that was true. “Thank God you managed to get pregnant at your age,” she said. “What?” “Many women find it difficult at your age.” Why was this an appropriate response? How was this an appropriate response? For long moments I could not find any words to fling at her. “I’ve been pregnant before, so I knew very early on,” I said finally. She said nothing. She began looking through the file the lactation nurse had left on the table.

“Thank God I was able to remove that pregnancy,” I said. Her silence bruised the air between us. “I was so relieved,” I said. “Some things are better left unsaid.” She turned away. I wanted to wound her, but I wasn’t sure why I chose this to wound her with. Now her indifference grated. Did it even matter to her? And what would matter—that I ended a pregnancy, that I got pregnant at nineteen, that she hadn’t known? Only Mmiliaku knew, and I never told the boy who didn’t love me, the boy I was trying to make love me when I didn’t yet know that you cannot nice your way into being loved. ———-

pg. 20 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  • EXISTENCE OF PATRIACHY

For proper understanding about this articles, am going to give a detail definition of the term “PATRIARCHY”.

DEFINITIONS OF PATRIARCHY

  1. According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy

  1. Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.
  1. Patriarchy is associated with a set of ideas, a patriarchal ideology that acts to explain and justify this dominance and attributes it to inherent natural differences between men and women. Sociologists tend to see patriarchy as a social product and not as an outcome of innate differences between the sexes and they focus attention on the way that gender roles in a society affect power differentials between men and women.
  1. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/patriarchy

  1. Social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line.
  2. Broadly: control by men of a disproportionately large share of power.

REFERENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF PATRIACHY IN ZIKORA

After a close reading of the short story, I was able to bring out the existence of some strict patriarchal edicts/persons in the novel, as in the case of Zikora father who was looking for a male child. The short story “ZIKORA” brings out the problem of patriarchal effect in relation to gender inequality and gender segregation in the formation of female identity.

I am interested in exploring the author representation of women’s by strict patriarchal edicts/persons.

REFERENCE 1

Here Mmiliaku husband uses the power of patriarchy or male dominance to have control over his wife, thereby telling her to quit her job.

“””””” And Mmiliaku laughed some more. Mmiliaku, my cousin with the beautiful name, water of wealth, wealth’s water, wealth like a river. The cousin that was like a sister, clever. Mmiliaku, who had advised me and taught me things, was now marrying a man who had asked her to stop working because he could afford to keep her at home. “”””””

pg. 10 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

The patriarchy nature was also seen in the story during the conversation of Kwame and Zikora, where Kwame demand that he supposed to be aware everything happening about Zikora body, so he uses the power of patriarchy.

———- On the day we broke up, we went back to my apartment after the gala, and I told Kwame, “So I’m very late and I’m never late.” He looked confused. “I might be pregnant.” I was so certain of his delight that I made my tone playful, almost singsong. But his face didn’t relax, instead it went still, as though all his features had paused, and suddenly this communicative man retreated into the cryptic.

He said, “We’re at different places in our lives.” He said, “I’ll take care of everything,” in a voice that belonged to someone else, in words that he had heard somewhere else. Take care of everything. How absurd; we were both lawyers, and I earned a little more than he did. He said, “It’s a shock.” I said, “You came inside me.” He said, “I thought you let me because you had protection. “I said, “What are you talking about? You know I stopped taking the pill because it made me fat, and I assumed you knew what it meant, what it could mean.” He said, “There was miscommunication.” “Kwame,” I said finally, in a plea and a prayer, looking at him, loving him.

Our conversation felt juvenile; an unreal air hung over us. I wanted to say, “I’m thirty-nine and you’re thirty-seven, employed and stable, I have a key to your apartment, your clothes are in my closet, and I’m not sure what conversation we should be having but it shouldn’t be this one.”

I wanted to rewind and redo. Have us walk into my apartment again, laughing, me saying, Let’s make margaritas, and him saying, I really want a burger; I don’t know what that tiny Chilean bass thing at dinner was about. Then I saw it, the almost imperceptible shrug. A shrug. He shrugged. His response was a shrug. From the deepest vaults of his being, a shrug.

“I think I should leave. Is that okay?” he asked as though he needed my permission to abandon me. He would kill you, but he would do it courteously. ———-

pg. 10, 11 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

Kwame who was surprise about the pregnancy news that was given to him, was not ok, he feel as a man he supposed to have right over all decision in the relationship. He felt disappointed that Zikora went ahead to keep the pregnancy after 20 weeks of breakup. Kwame response to the message has proven the existence of patriarchy.

———- Some days I was fine and some days I was underwater, barely breathing. At my twenty-week checkup, I smiled at the moving grainy gray image on the ultrasound screen, flush with well-being, and I waved at the front-desk women as I left, but in the elevator, I burst into tears, a sudden sense of dissolving all around me. I sent Kwame a text: I’m 20 weeks today.

He replied three days later: It’s manipulative to send me this. You know you made a decision that excluded me. I didn’t want things to end this way. I’m hurting too. I read it over and over; it felt like something written by somebody who was not Kwame, like an exercise from law school, an argument about case law, hard and elegant and empty.

To my Can we please at least talk? Kwame did not respond. Ours was an ancient story, the woman wants the baby and the man doesn’t want the baby and a middle ground does not exist.  What would a middle ground be? We couldn’t have half a baby. ———-

pg. 13, Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 4

Zikora father exhibits the power of patriarchy to decide to get another wife since he is looking for a male child. So there is an existence of some strict patriarchal edicts/persons in the story as the case of Zikora father.

———- I was eight when my mother told me that my father would marry another wife, but nothing would change; we would still live in our house, but sometimes Daddy would visit her in her house, not far from ours. “Your father will live here,” my mother said with emphasis. “He will always come home to us.” She made coming home to us sound like a victory. “But why is he marrying another wife?” I asked. “I don’t want a new mummy. ———-

pg. 22 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  • EXISTENCE OF A SINGLE MOTHERHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD

Definition of ’motherhood’

  1. According to encyclopedia

https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/sociology-and-social-reform/sociology-general-terms-and-concepts/motherhood

Motherhood, as defined here, is the cultural process of locating women’s identities in their capacity to nurture infants and children.

  • According to Cambridge dictionary

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/english/motherhood

The state or time of being a mother

  • According to Collins dictionary

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/amp/english/motherhood

1.  Motherhood is the state of being a mother.

2. The qualities characteristic of a mother

3. The state of being a mother; maternity

4.  The character or qualities of a mother

  • According to Macmillan dictionary

https://www.macmillandictionary.com/amp/dictionary/british/motherhood

The state of being a mother

REFERENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF MOTHERHOOD IN ZIKORA

When Zikora, a DC lawyer from Nigeria, tells her equally high-powered lover that she’s pregnant, he abandons her. But Zikora’smother was in town for the birth, who makes Zikora feel like a little girl all over again. In the hospital, she turns to reflecting on her mother’s painful past and struggle for dignity. Preparing for motherhood, Zikora begins to see more clearly what her own mother wants for her, for her new baby, and for herself.

In Zikora, Adichie also succeeds in painting the picture of new motherhood; of the priorities that come with it and the mother-child relationship.

Zikora’s mother represents the conventional womanhood and motherhood who understands the concept between nature’s laws and societal laws. She is able to navigate through them: she accepts her inability to conceive a male child (nature’s law), she blends that with her society’s law thereby accepting polygamy.

The following reference to the existence of single motherhood/motherhood has seen in the novel with its page number below its

REFERENCE 1

———- I pushed out a baby boy. Wrinkled and silent, scaly skinned, wet black curls plastered on his head. He came out with his mouth full of shit, and the bigger nurse, chuckling, said, “Not the best first meal,” while somebody swiftly took him away to suction the feces from his mouth.

Now here he was wrapped like a tidy sausage roll and placed on my chest. He was warm and so very small. I held him with stiff hands. I was suspended in a place of no feeling, waiting to feel. I could not separate this moment from the stories of this moment—years of stories and films and books about this scene, mother and child, mother meeting child, child in mother’s arms. I knew how I was supposed to feel, but I did not know how I felt. It was not transcendental. There was a festering red pain between my legs. Somewhere in my consciousness, a mild triumph hovered, because it was over, finally it was over, and I had pushed out the baby. So animalistic, so violent—the push and pressure, the blood, the doctor urging me, the cranking and stretching of flesh and organ and bone. At the final push, I thought that here in this delivery room we are reduced, briefly and brutishly, to the animals we truly are. “Beautiful boy,” my mother said, smiling down at him. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 17, Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

—– My son began to cry. He was fed, his tiny belly tautly round, and yet he cried. He cried and cried.

“Some babies just cry,” my mother said calmly. What am I supposed to do with him?  I thought to myself. It had only been a few days. There would be more days and weeks of this, not knowing what to do with a squalling person whose needs I feared I could never know. Only in my mother’s arms did his wails taper off, briefly, before they began again. Only while asleep was he fully free of tears.

My mother laid him in his crib and after a moment said, “Look how he’s raised his arms!” She was smiling, and I had never seen delight so naked on her face. My son’s tiny arms were raised up, as though in salute to sleep. It made me smile too.

“I don’t know what I’ll do when you leave,” I said. “My visa is long stay,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere yet.” “Thank you, Mummy,” I said, and I began to cry. Tears were so cheap now.

My son woke up and began to cry. My mother hurried to his crib. I watched her cradle him and lower her head, as though to inhale him, touching the skin of his face with the skin of hers. —-

                                                                                    pg. 27, 28 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———-We left the hospital in the early afternoon. My mother dressed my son in the yellow onesie I had packed, newborn-sized but still big for him, the sleeves flopping around his tiny arms.

In the taxi, his car seat lodged between my mother and me, I felt a wind pull through me, emptying me out. An intense urge overcame me, to hide from my mother and my son, from myself.

You don’t know how bristly sanitary pads are until you have worn postbirth pads in the hospital and then switched to sanitary pads at home. I was constipated, and on the toilet, I tried not to strain while straining still, tentative, panic in my throat, afraid I might tear my stitches.

A geyser of anxiety had erupted deep inside me and I was spurting fear. I sat in the warm sitz bath, worried that I hadn’t sat for long enough, even though I set my timer for fifteen minutes. What if I got an infection? I would need medication, which would taint my breast milk and affect my son. My son. My son could not latch on to my breasts properly, always my nipple slipped out of his little hungry mouth. He wailed and wailed.

His cries seared into my head and made me so jittery I wanted to smash things. My mother called a lactation nurse for a home visit, a tiny platinum-haired woman who coaxed and cooed and tried to get my son’s mouth to open and close, but he pulled back and wailed. Was it something about being back home? I had breastfed him in the hospital.

The nurse gave me a plastic nipple shield, to place between my nipple and my son’s mouth, and for a brief moment he sucked in silence, and then began to cry again. I pumped my breasts with a machine that vibrated, funnels affixed to my nipples, spurts of thin liquid filling the attached bottles.

The pumping was tortuously slow; my breasts recoiled from the machine and so gave up little of their milk. My son slept in a crib by my bed. At first, my mother slept in the next room, and then she pulled her mattress into my bedroom and set it by the couch. At night, she fed my son a bottle of breast milk with a slim curved nipple. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 26 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

5. DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS

For proper understanding about this articles, am going to give a detail definition of the term “DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS”.

DEFINITION OF THE TERM RELATIONSHIP

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intimate_relationship

Mating system.

An intimate relationship is an interpersonal relationship that involves physical or emotional intimacy. Although an intimate relationship is commonly a sexual relationship, it may also be a non-sexual relationship involving family, friends, or acquaintances.

Emotional intimacy involves feelings of liking or loving one or more people, and may result in physical intimacy. Physical intimacy is characterized by romantic love, sexual activity, or other passionate attachment. These relationships play a central role in the overall human experience. Humans have a general desire to belong and to love, which is usually satisfied within an intimate relationship. Such relationships allow a social network for people to form strong emotional attachments.

ACCORDING TO THE WEBSITE POWERMOVES

A dysfunctional relationship is a relationship where patterns of destructive, harmful or abusive behaviours, also called “dances”, are repeated over time. Dances are interactions based on traits and behaviours that are repeated in a loop through the years. There advantages to relationship dances, such as familiarity and building a shared meaning. Relationship dances can be healthy and helpful.

For example, if every time that one partner is down one cheers the other up, that’s a positive dance.

The disadvantage is that they can become inflexible, and potentially even constrict our personalities at times that we are growing or want to change -or that we should change-. And that’s when some partners have affairs: to try on new roles.

And of course, some of these dances are unhealthy and bring unhappiness in the relationship. It’s important to distinguish between “one-off” events and patterns of behaviour. A one-off event can be abusive, but it doesn’t qualify as a “dysfunctional relationship” unless it’s repeated over time.

ACCORDING TO THE WEBSITE PSYCHPAGE

What is a dysfunctional relationship?

A dysfunctional relationship is one where two people make an emotional “contract” and agree to meet each other’s needs in what end up being self-destructive ways.

ACCORDING TO THE WEBSITE TINATESSINA

http://www.tinatessina.com/dysfunctional_relationship.html

WHAT IS A DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP?

Dysfunctional Relationships are relationships that do not perform their appropriate function; that is, they do not emotionally support the participants, foster communication among them, appropriately challenge them, or prepare or fortify them for life in the larger world.

REFERENCES OF THE EXISTENCE DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS OF IN ZIKORA

Most people have a dysfunctional relationship with either their Father, Mother, Brother or Sister or their husband or wife or girlfriend or boyfriend. At least one member of their family.

  1. Zikora had one with her mother. Her mother was strict right from time but I feel the tension aggravated because of the sense of betrayal portrayed by Zikora liking her father’s second wife.
  • Zikora had one with her Kwame. It seemed to everyone that the both would, in the near future, get married, Kwame having followed Zikora to Nigeria earlier, but things turned upside down when Zikora revealed to Kwame that “she might be pregnant”. The weight of the news killed the talker in Kwame and he left her, only to return her “key” in an “envelop” days later.
  1. Zikora had one with her mother. Her mother was strict right from time but I feel the tension aggravated because of the sense of betrayal portrayed by Zikora liking her father’s second wife.

REFERENCE 1

———- Once, I was about nine, and my father’s second wife, Aunty Nwanneka, had just had a baby, my brother Ugonna (“Your half brother ,”my mother always said). To visit the baby, my mother asked me to wear a going-out dress, red and full skirted, as though for church. Aunty Nwanneka offered us plantain and fish, the house smelled of delicious frying, and my mother said no thank you, that we had just eaten, but when I went to pee, I told Aunty Nwanneka I was hungry, and she brought me a plate, smiling, her face plump and fresh. Later, as we walked to the car, my mother slapped me. “Don’t disgrace me like that again,” she said calmly, and for a long time I remembered the sudden vertigo, feeling surprise rather than pain as her palm struck the back of my head. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 6, 7 Zikora, amazon original stories

REFERENCE 2

———- I was eight when my mother told me that my father would marry another wife, but nothing would change; we would still live in our house, but sometimes Daddy would visit her in her house, not far from ours. “Your father will live here,” my mother said with emphasis. “He will always come home to us.” She made coming home to us sound like a victory. “But why is he marrying another wife?” I asked. “I don’t want a new mummy.”

“She’s not your new mummy. Just your aunty.” Aunty Nwanneka.

pg. 22, Zikora, Amazon Original Stories       

REFERENCE 3

———- “Ziko, congratulations, God has blessed us,” Aunty Nwanneka said, and a slice of her face appeared above my father’s on the screen. “How are you feeling?”

“Tired,” I said, and sensed my mother’s disapproval. She would have wanted me to tell Aunty Nwanneka that I was perfectly fine. “Aunty, congratulations,” Aunty Nwanneka said to my mother. She had always called my mother “Aunty” to show respect. “Thank you,” my mother said serenely. ———-

pg. 23, Zikora, Amazon Original Stories       

REFERENCE 4

—– I looked at my mother, standing by the window. How had I never really seen her? It was my father who destroyed, and it was my mother I blamed for the ruins left behind.

My parents decided early on that I would go abroad for university, and in the evenings after school, lesson teachers came to our house to prepare me for the SATs and A levels. My father wanted me to go to America because America was the future, and my mother wanted me to go to the UK because education was more rigorous there. “I want to go to America,” I said. Had I really wanted America or did I want what my father wanted or did I not want what my mother wanted? The way she said “rigorous” had irritated me. Her addiction to dignity infuriated me, alienated me, but I always looked past why she held so stiffly to her own self-possession. ——

pg. 23, Zikora, Amazon Original Stories       

REFERENCE 5

———- How do some memories insist on themselves? I remembered the night of Aunty Nwanneka’s birthday party. A big party. Canopies ringed by balloons had been set up in her compound. My mother asked me not to go. It was shortly after my father had moved out of our house, the strain between my parents still ripe and raw.

“Stay and stand by me,” my mother said, and I scoffed silently, thinking she was being dramatic. Chill out, it’s not as if this is a blood feud. I went to the party. When I came home, unsteady from the wine Mmiliaku and I had drunk straight from the bottles, our househelp let me in. My mother was in the living room reading.

“Mummy, good evening,” I greeted, and she said nothing. She looked up from her book, as though to show she had heard me, and then turned away. A recurring image: my mother turning away, retreating, closing windows on herself. ———-

pg. 27, Zikora, Amazon Original Stories       

  • Zikora had one with her Kwame. It seemed to everyone that the both would, in the near future, get married, Kwame having followed Zikora to Nigeria earlier, but things turned upside down when Zikora revealed to Kwame that “she might be pregnant”. The weight of the news killed the talker in Kwame and he left her, only to return her “key” in an “envelop” days later.

REFERENCE 1

———- On the day we broke up, we went back to my apartment after the gala, and I told Kwame, “So I’m very late and I’m never late.” He looked confused. “I might be pregnant.” I was so certain of his delight that I made my tone playful, almost singsong. But his face didn’t relax, instead it went still, as though all his features had paused, and suddenly this communicative man retreated into the cryptic.

He said, “We’re at different places in our lives.” He said, “I’ll take care of everything,” in a voice that belonged to someone else, in words that he had heard somewhere else. Take care of everything. How absurd; we were both lawyers, and I earned a little more than he did. He said, “It’s a shock.” I said, “You came inside me.” He said, “I thought you let me because you had protection. “I said, “What are you talking about? You know I stopped taking the pill because it made me fat, and I assumed you knew what it meant, what it could mean.” He said, “There was miscommunication.” “Kwame,” I said finally, in a plea and a prayer, looking at him, loving him.

Our conversation felt juvenile; an unreal air hung over us. I wanted to say, “I’m thirty-nine and you’re thirty-seven, employed and stable, I have a key to your apartment, your clothes are in my closet, and I’m not sure what conversation we should be having but it shouldn’t be this one.”

I wanted to rewind and redo. Have us walk into my apartment again, laughing, me saying, Let’s make margaritas, and him saying, I really want a burger; I don’t know what that tiny Chilean bass thing at dinner was about. Then I saw it, the almost imperceptible shrug. A shrug. He shrugged. His response was a shrug. From the deepest vaults of his being, a shrug.

“I think I should leave. Is that okay?” he asked as though he needed my permission to abandon me. He would kill you, but he would do it courteously. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 10-11 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- Some days I was fine and some days I was underwater, barely breathing. At my twenty-week checkup, I smiled at the moving grainy gray image on the ultrasound screen, flush with well-being, and I waved at the front-desk women as I left, but in the elevator, I burst into tears, a sudden sense of dissolving all around me. I sent Kwame a text: I’m 20 weeks today.

He replied three days later: It’s manipulative to send me this. You know you made a decision that excluded me. I didn’t want things to end this way. I’m hurting too. I read it over and over; it felt like something written by somebody who was not Kwame, like an exercise from law school, an argument about case law, hard and elegant and empty.

To my Can we please at least talk? Kwame did not respond. Ours was an ancient story, the woman wants the baby and the man doesn’t want the baby and a middle ground does not exist.  What would a middle ground be? We couldn’t have half a baby. ———-

pg. 13, Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

—–I reached for my phone. There was no response from Kwame. In a surge of disbelief and desperation, I sent another message: It’s a boy. Now that he knew it was no longer just about me, he might respond. Or appear at the hospital, holding a balloon and flowers, limp flowers from the supermarket because he wouldn’t have had time to go to a florist.  I felt pathetic. —-

pg. 17,18  Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 4

———- I checked my phone, still nothing from Kwame. I sent another text: Your son. I felt ragged and hopeless, high on my desperation. I had already ripped up my dignity, so I might as well scatter the pieces. I called him, and his phone rang and went to voice mail, and I called again, and again, and the fourth or fifth time, I heard a beep instead of a ringing, and I knew that he had just blocked my number. I closed my eyes. In my head, there was a queue of emotions I could not name, wanting to be tried out one after the other. A fog blanketed me, a kind of deadness. I didn’t cry; crying seemed too ordinary for this moment.

pg. 18, 19 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 5

———- “Sleep, try and sleep,” she said to me, but I couldn’t sleep. I hardly slept, and I could hear in the silence of my luxury apartment the gurgle of my son’s swallowing. My tear itched badly. My appetite grew with a fury, and I ate whole loaves of bread, large portions of salmon. The sun slanting through the windows my mother opened every morning. The tinkly music from my son’s crib mobile. The frequent flare of sad longing. I missed Kwame. I looked ahead and saw a future dead with the weight of his absence. I thought of getting a new number and calling him, to tell him we could make it work, that he could do as little as he wanted as a father just as long as he was there. But I was wearied of his rejection, his ignoring my texts, his blocking my number, and I felt translucent, so fragile that one more rejection would make me come fully undone.

 “Why don’t I call his parents? To inform them. They deserve to know,” my mother suddenly said one morning as she fed my son, and I was startled that she could read my mind.

“Who?” I asked foolishly. She looked at me evenly.  “Kwame.” “No,” I said. “Not yet.” ———-

pg. 26, 27 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  • SEXISM

For proper understanding about this articles, am going to give a detail definition of the term “sexism”.

According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexism

Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender. Sexism can affect anyone, but it primarily affects women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles, and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another. Extreme sexism may foster sexual harassment, rape, and other forms of sexual violence.

REFERENCES IN THE EXISTENCE OF SEXISM IN ZIKORA

Particularly in some of the portrayals of the male figures and their selfish sexual beings who do not care for the pleasures of their female folk, focusing only on those sexually charged moments when they need immediate release. This was seen in the case of Mmiliaku and her husband.

REFERENCE 1

In sexual encounters where conception was never intended, for instance, among school mates, unmarried couple, rape (within and outside marriage), the male is simply interested in the satisfaction of his urges, the female is the object of his satisfaction, and the outcome is her business to deal with.

She paints this fact in Mmiliaku’s marital life,

“Emmanuel still waits until I’m asleep, then he climbs on me, and of course I’m dry and I wake up in pain. Sixteen years.”

pg. 10 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- “I just don’t understand it. It’s as if an artery burst inside him and suddenly his whole body is wired differently and he is no longer the person he was,” I told Mmiliaku.

“I don’t understand how we could have unprotected sex for so long and then when I get pregnant, he reacts like he never knew it could happen.” “Zikky, have you considered that maybe he didn’t know?”

“What do you mean?” “Men know very little about women’s bodies.” I felt betrayed by her. I was annoyed, and wanted to tell her that not everyone was her Emmanuel, warped and stunted, raping her while she slept. ———-

pg. 14, 15 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

———- We laughed whenever I mimicked my law school classmate, a humorless American woman, face scrubbed, asking me to “acknowledge the contradiction” of my mother. It was after my presentation on traditional Igbo property laws, and I’d used my mother’s story: a woman from a wealthy family marries a man from a wealthy family, has one daughter, three miscarriages, and an emergency hysterectomy, after which her husband decides to marry again because he needs to have sons, and she agrees, and it is those sons who will inherit the family property. ———-

 pg. 23 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  • CHILDBIRTH/CHILD BEARING

Let get to know what childbearing/child birth for better clarification on this story “ZIKORA”

  1. According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childbirth

Childbirth, also known as labour and delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section.

  • According to merriam-webster dictionary

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/childbearing

  1. Of or relating to the process of conceiving, being pregnant with, and giving birth to children.
  2. The act of bringing forth children : CHILDBIRTH
  1. According to Cambridge dictionary

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/childmessage

  1. The process of having babies.
  2. Of or relating to the process of a woman becoming pregnant and giving birth to a baby.
  1. According Collins dictionary

The act or process of carrying and giving birth to a child

REFERENCES OF CHILDBIRTH/CHILD BEARING IN ZIKORA

The story started with a powerful exploration of the pains of childbirth, especially when it seems like you are going through it alone. Imagine the father of the baby avoiding her calls and text messages and her own mother in the labour room with her (Zikora)

I’ve never read a book that describes the child birthing process so vividly. To be honest, it was a little bit scary reading her own analysis of childbirth that go on in the labour room. The author did not fail to mention the nightmares and struggles that take place during pregnancy. It was insightful to read.

Meanwhile, the pain of childbirth as expressed in the story is a true experience of women who are in labour, the hurt and pain that women go through in the labour room is what men themselves can never understand nor experience.

The following are the references made in the story:

REFERENCE 1

———- All through the night my mother sat near me but never touched me. Once, I screamed, a short scream that lanced the air in the hospital room, and she said, “That’s how labor is,” in Igbo, and I wanted to say, “No shit,” but of course she didn’t understand colloquial Americanisms. I had prepared for pain but this was not mere pain. It was something like pain and different from pain. It sat like fire ins my back, spreading to my thighs, squeezing and crushing my insides, pulling downward, spiraling. It felt like the Old Testament. A plague. A primitive wind blowing at will, evil but purposelessly so, an overcoming in my body that didn’t need to be. Hour after hour of this, and yet the nurses said I wasn’t progressing. “You’re not progressing,” the smaller nurse said as though it were my fault.

The room felt too warm and then too cold. My arms itched, my scalp itched, and malaise lay over me like a mist. I wanted nothing touching my body. I yanked off my hospital gown, the flimsy blue fabric with its effete dangling ropes that gaped open at the back as if designed to humiliate. Naked, I perched on the edge of the bed and retched. Relief was impossible; everything was impossible. I stood up, sat down, and then I got on my hands and knees, my taut belly hanging in between. The clenching in my lower body came and went, random, irregular, like mean surprises. The bigger nurse was saying something. I shouted at her, “I need it now!”

“You’ll get the epidural soon,” she said. The smaller nurse needed to check me. I rolled onto my back. An invasion of fingers. She was gloved and I couldn’t see her nails, but her false eyelashes, curving from her upper lids like black feathers, made me worry that her nails were long and sharp and would pierce through the latex and puncture my uterus. I tensed up.

“Bring your feet up and let your legs fall apart,” she said. “What?” “Bring your feet up and let your legs fall apart.”

Let your legs fall apart.

What did that even mean? How could legs fall apart? I began to laugh. From somewhere outside myself I heard the hysteria in my laughter. The nurse looked at me with the resigned expression of a person who had seen all the forms of madness that overtook birthing women lying on their backs with their bodies open to the world. ———-

pg. 5 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———– “You’re not progressing,” she said.

Then came a wave of exhaustion, a tiredness limp and bloodless. I was leaving my body. I could die. I could die here, now, today, like Chinyere died in a fancy Lagos hospital that had flat-screen TVs in the labor ward. It was her third childbirth and she was walking, chatting with the nurses, stopping to breathe through each contraction, and then midsentence, she paused and collapsed and died. She was my cousin’s cousin. I had not liked her but I had mourned her.

My heart was beating fast. I’d read somewhere that maternal mortality was higher in America than anywhere else in the Western world —or was it just higher for Black women? The subject had never really interested me. I’d felt at most a faraway concern, as though it was something that happened to other people. I should have paid more attention. Now I would die in this hospital room with its rolling table and its picture of faded flowers on the wall, and become a tiny nameless dot in the data, and somebody somewhere would read a new report on maternal mortality and mildly wonder if it was Black women who died more often.

My doctor came in looking unbearably calm. “Dr. K, something is wrong. I just know something is wrong,” I said. My body was turning on me in spasms and wrenches I had never before known, each with a dark promise of its own return. Something had to be wrong; childbirth could not be this gratuitous and cruel. “Nothing is wrong, Zikora, it’s all normal.”

“I’m tired, I’m so tired,” I said, in my mind the image of Chinyere pregnant and dead on a hospital floor.

“Epidural is almost here. I know it’s difficult, but what you are feeling is perfectly normal.”

“You don’t know how it feels ,” I said.

Before today, he was the lovely Iranian doctor I’d chosen for the compassion in his eyes. Today, he was a monstrous man pontificating opaquely about things he would never experience. What was “normal”? That Nature traded in unnecessary pain? It wasn’t his intestines being set on fire, after all. I caught my mother’s glance, that icy expression she had when I was a child and did something in public where she couldn’t slap me right away as she would have liked.

Once, I was about nine, and my father’s second wife, Aunty Nwanneka, had just had a baby, my brother Ugonna (“Your half brother ,” my mother always said). To visit the baby, my mother asked me to wear a going-out dress, red and full skirted, as though for church. Aunty

Nwanneka offered us plantain and fish, the house smelled of delicious frying, and my mother said no thank you, that we had just eaten, but when I went to pee, I told Aunty Nwanneka I was hungry, and she brought me a plate, smiling, her face plump and fresh. Later, as we walked to the car, my mother slapped me. “Don’t disgrace me like that again,” she said calmly, and for a long time I remembered the sudden vertigo, feeling surprise rather than pain as her palm struck the back of my head. I was disgracing her now; I was not facing labor with laced-up dignity. She wanted me to meet each rush of pain with a mute grinding of teeth, to endure pain with pride, to embrace pain, even. When I had severe cramps as a teenager, she would say, “Bear it, that is what it means to be a woman,” and it was years before I knew that girls took Buscopan for period pain. ———-

pg. 6-7 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

———- The epidural person, a pale-faced man with a reddish mustache, was saying, “I need your help to get this done, okay? I need you to be very still,okay?” He did not inspire confidence, with his false cheer and his saying “okay?” so often. I began to wonder if he was qualified, where he had trained, whether his animation was a shield for incompetence. “That’s your mom?” he asked. “Hi, Mom! I’d like you to help us out here, okay? If you can hold her so she doesn’t move . . .” Before he finished speaking, my mother, still seated on the armchair,

said, “She can manage.” The smaller nurse raised her eyebrows. It made no sense to be angry

with the nurse, but I was angry with the nurse. Why did she have to make that face?

Did it really surprise her? Did other mothers sit there overnight as my mother had, still as a coffin, glasses gold framed, face perfectly powdered in MAC NC45? Was she thinking that it should have been the father of my baby here with me?

How dare she judge me? Was the father of her children in their life, what with her outlandish lashes and all? She probably had three children, each with a different father, and here she was judging me for having a cold mother instead of a husband by my side. I would write a complaint about her ridiculous lashes. The labor and delivery ward needed to have a false-eyelash policy. I would have chosen a different hospital if my health insurance company hadn’t been so difficult about things. I felt angry and I felt ugly and I welcomed both like a bitter refuge.

The epidural man would not stop talking. “As still as you can, okay? Don’t flinch, okay?”

I bent over and hugged the pillow and held still. There was the cold smear of a liquid on my back and the brief prick of a needle. Tears filled my eyes; my anger began to curdle into a darkness close to grief. It really should be Kwame here with me, holding me, sitting on the chair my mother was in, finding a way to make a joke about nutty . In a rush I reached for my cell phone and sent him a text: I’m in labor at East Memorial. I held on to my phone in the delivery room, and I kept checking it, willing Kwame’s reply to appear on the screen, until my doctor asked me to push. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 7, 8 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories      

REFERENCE 4

——- I pushed out a baby boy. Wrinkled and silent, scaly skinned, wet black curls plastered on his head. He came out with his mouth full of shit, and the bigger nurse, chuckling, said, “Not the best first meal,” while somebody swiftly took him away to suction the feces from his mouth. ——-

                                                                                    pg. 17 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories        

  • PREGNANCY

For a better understanding of the term “pregnancy” I will like to give a proper definition with link beneath it for reference purpose

DEFINITION OF PREGNANCY

  1. According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PregnancyPregnancy

Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman.S

  • According to Cambridge dictionary

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/pregnancy

The state of being pregnant

REFERENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF PREGNANCY IN ZIKORA

Chimamanda showed so clearly and with much details the changes and uneasiness that comes with pregnancy, especially one where the woman is left alone by her lover to take care of the result of both their actions.

Zikora presents a feminine woman in control of her life, having that same life fall apart when she discovers that she is pregnant.

It also talked about what pregnancy meant to different women. I really love the comparison used in the book.

REFERENCE 1

———-I wanted to wound her, but I wasn’t sure why I chose this to wound her with. Now her indifference grated. Did it even matter to her? And what would matter—that I ended a pregnancy, that I got pregnant at nineteen, that she hadn’t known?

Only Mmiliaku knew, and I never told the boy who didn’t love me, the boy I was trying to make love me when I didn’t yet know that you cannot nice your way into being loved. I met him in sophomore year of college, my second year in America. A basketball player. He was very dark and very beautiful, near-comical in his selfregard, tall, his head always held high, his gait something of a trot. He often said, “I don’t do commitment,” with a rhythm in his voice, as though miming a rap song, but I didn’t hear what he said; I heard what I wanted to hear: he hadn’t done commitment yet .

                                                                                    pg. 20 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories        

REFERENCE 2

From the beginning I was of no real consequence to him. At some level I knew this, because I had to have known this, but I was also nineteen and feeding the insecurities of that age.

The first time I knelt naked in front of him, he yanked a fistful of my braids, then pushed at my head so that I gagged. It was a gesture replete with unkindness. He could have done it differently, had he wanted me to do things differently, but that push was punitive, an action whose theme was the word bitch . Still, I said nothing. I made myself boneless and amenable. I spent weekends willing the landline next to my bed to ring. Often it didn’t. Then he would call, before midnight, to ask if I was still up, so he could visit and leave before dawn. When my grandmother died, I called him crying, and he said, “Sorry,” and then in the next breath, “Has your period ended so I can stop by?” My period had not ended and so he did not stop by. I believed then that love had to feel like hunger to be true.

“The rubber came off,” he said carelessly that night. He’d been drinking and I had not. “It’s so funny how you say ‘rubber,’” I tittered, wishing he weren’t already distracted, reaching for his clothes, eyes on his car keys. I thought nothing of it; the condom slipping off once couldn’t possibly matter.

Symptoms can mean nothing if a mind is convinced, if a thing just cannot be, and so the sore nipples, the sweeping waves of fatigue, had to have other meanings until they no longer could, and I walked to Rite Aid after class and bought a pregnancy test. How swift the moment is when your life becomes a different life.

I had never considered myself getting pregnant, never imagined it, and for moments after the test showed positive, I sat drowning in disbelief. I didn’t know what to do; I had never thought I would need to know. I went to the health center and lied to the nurse practitioner, telling her the condom slipped off the night before.

She gave me a white morning-after pill, which I swallowed with tepid water from the dispenser in the waiting room. It was too late of course, I knew, but still I did other desperate nonsensical things: I jumped up and threw myself down on the floor, violently, and it left me stunned, too jolted to try it again. I drank cans of lemon soda, dissolved sachets of fizzy liver salts in glasses of water.

 I disfigured a hanger in my closet and held it steely in my hand, trying to imagine what distraught women did in old films. A clutch of emotions paralyzed me, bleeding into each other, disgust-horrorfear- panic. Like slender talismans, I lined up different pregnancy tests on my sink, and each one I urinated on I willed to turn negative. They were all positive. Something was growing inside me, alien, uninvited, and it felt like an infestation.

Some kindnesses you do not ever forget. You carry them to your grave, held warmly somewhere, brought up and savored from time to time. Such was the kindness of the African American woman with short pressed hair at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Angel Street.

                                                                                    pg. 20, 21 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories  

REFERENCE 3

She smiled with all of her open face, kind, matter-of-fact, and she touched my shoulder while I settled tensely on my back. She held my hand through the long minutes.

“It’s okay, you’ll be okay,” she said. My fingers tightened around hers while cramps stabbed my lower belly. I was utterly alone, and she knew it. “Thank you,” I said afterward. “Thank you.” I felt light from relief, weightless, unburdened. It was done. On the bus home, I cried, looking out the window at the cars and lights of a city that knew my loneliness. ———-

pg. 21, 22 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  • ABORTION

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion

Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or “spontaneous abortion” and occurs in approximately 30% to 50% of pregnancies. When deliberate steps are taken to end a pregnancy, it is called an induced abortion, or less frequently “induced miscarriage”. The unmodified word abortion generally refers to an induced abortion.

REFERENCES OF ABORTIONS IN ZIKORA

The book talked about abortion. Here Zikora and Mmiliaku where the ones who did that. Below is a proved of it

REFERENCE 1

———- As if Mmiliaku sensed this, she asked, “Remember when I called you from Nitel?” When I called you from Nitel. Years had passed since that phone call, and Mmiliaku had never referred to it; we had picked up and continued as though the phone call had never happened.

She had gone to a Nitel office in central Lagos to call from a grimy public phone because she was worried that Emmanuel—who was not even home—would somehow hear our conversation if she used her cell phone. A bright winter morning in Washington, DC.

I was sweeping pillows of snow from the top of my car and missed the first call as my gloved hand fumbled in my coat pocket, and then I almost didn’t answer, because I thought the strange number was a telemarketer. “Zikky,” she said. “Water!” I said. “What number is this?”

“I’m pregnant,” she said. Right away something felt off, her flat tone didn’t match her news. “Ah-ah,” I said. Her fifth child was six months old. “I should have put in the coil, but I was waiting for my stitches to heal well first, and then I had to deal with the nipple infection and then Baby’s pneumonia, and I just forgot.” She was crying. “Water, calm down.” “Amuchago m,” she said. “I’m done having children.” We mostly spoke English; Igbo was for mimicking relatives and for saying painful things. When our grandmother died, Mmiliaku had called me and said, “Mama Nnukwu anwugo,” with a firmness that gave no room. I had no choice but to accept the news.

She sounded the same now as she said, “Amuchago m.” I pictured her from my last visit at Christmas, in her harried living room, little children stumbling about, the eldest just six, an endless loop of cartoons on television, and the faint smell of urine in the slightly warm air.

Emmanuel traveled a lot, she said, and when he was in a bad mood, he refused to pay the oldest child’s school fees. “I don’t understand that,” I said, and she looked at me blankly as if to say, “How do you expect me to understand it?” She had a nanny, but she seemed always to be laboring, distracted by tasks and things unfinished. Why is this diaper leaking again? Let’s add banana to the sweet potato puree. If he doesn’t sleep now, he will be unmanageable this evening. This rash is getting worse.

“Amuchago m,” she said again.

“Water, I understand. Do you know where you’ll go?” “I’ll ask Dr. Ngozi. I trust her.” “It will be okay. I’ll send the money today. I wish I could be there with you.”

Nigerian banks were not yet modernized, online transfers didn’t exist, and so I drove, windscreen frosted with ice, to a Western Union. I sent her the money in dollars, so she could get the best rates on the black market, and she hid it in her daughter’s underwear drawer, where Emmanuel would never go, until she went to a discreet doctor’s clinic.———-

pg. 16-17 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- “Mummy, I would die for him,” I said, partly to make peace with her and partly because I needed to speak this miraculous momentous thing that was true. “Thank God you managed to get pregnant at your age,” she said. “What?” “Many women find it difficult at your age.”

Why was this an appropriate response? How was this an appropriate response? For long moments I could not find any words to fling at her. “I’ve been pregnant before, so I knew very early on,” I said finally. She said nothing. She began looking through the file the lactation nurse had left on the table. “Thank God I was able to remove that pregnancy,” I said.

Her silence bruised the air between us. “I was so relieved,” I said.

“Some things are better left unsaid.” She turned away. I wanted to wound her, but I wasn’t sure why I chose this to wound her with. Now her indifference grated. Did it even matter to her? And what would matter that I ended a pregnancy, that I got pregnant at nineteen, that she hadn’t known? Only Mmiliaku knew, and I never told the boy who didn’t love me, the boy I was trying to make love me when I didn’t yet know that you cannot nice your way into being loved. ———-

pg. 20 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

———- Symptoms can mean nothing if a mind is convinced, if a thing just cannot be, and so the sore nipples, the sweeping waves of fatigue, had to have other meanings until they no longer could, and I walked to Rite Aid after class and bought a pregnancy test. How swift the moment is when your life becomes a different life.

I had never considered myself getting pregnant, never imagined it, and for moments after the test showed positive, I sat drowning in disbelief. I didn’t know what to do; I had never thought I would need to know. I went to the health center and lied to the nurse practitioner, telling her the condom slipped off the night before.

She gave me a white morning-after pill, which I swallowed with tepid water from the dispenser in the waiting room. It was too late of course, I knew, but still I did other desperate nonsensical things: I jumped up and threw myself down on the floor, violently, and it left me stunned, too jolted to try it again. I drank cans of lemon soda, dissolved sachets of fizzy liver salts in glasses of water.

 I disfigured a hanger in my closet and held it steely in my hand, trying to imagine what distraught women did in old films. A clutch of emotions paralyzed me, bleeding into each other, disgust-horrorfear- panic. Like slender talismans, I lined up different pregnancy tests on my sink, and each one I urinated on I willed to turn negative. They were all positive. Something was growing inside me, alien, uninvited, and it felt like an infestation.

Some kindnesses you do not ever forget. You carry them to your grave, held warmly somewhere, brought up and savored from time to time. Such was the kindness of the African American woman with short pressed hair at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Angel Street.

She smiled with all of her open face, kind, matter-of-fact, and she touched my shoulder while I settled tensely on my back. She held my hand through the long minutes.

“It’s okay, you’ll be okay,” she said. My fingers tightened around hers while cramps stabbed my lower belly. I was utterly alone, and she knew it. “Thank you,” I said afterward. “Thank you.” I felt light from relief, weightless, unburdened. It was done. On the bus home, I cried, looking out the window at the cars and lights of a city that knew my loneliness. ———-

pg. 21, 22 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. EXISTENCE OF COMPETITION

Competition is part of our daily lives at work, in school, almost everywhere. This book explored competition at work, how everybody wants to win at all cost. Donna kept asking questions about Zikora’s pregnancy just to prove Zikora had a much greater deal to handle than making partner at the firm. Zikora also kept pretending that the pregnancy wasn’t affecting her in any way to show she was up for it.

ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition

Competition arises whenever at least two parties strive for a common goal which cannot be shared: where one’s gain is the other’s loss (an example of which is a zero-sum game).

It is, in general, a rivalry between two or more entities: animals, organisms, economic groups, individuals, social groups, etc., for group or social status, leadership, profit, and recognition: awards, goods, mates, prestige, a niche, scarce resources, or a territory.

ACCORDING TO COLLINSDICTIONARY

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/amp/english/competition

  1. Competition is a situation in which two or more people or groups are trying to get something which not everyone can have.
  2. The competition is the person or people you are competing with.
  3. Competition is an activity involving two or more firms, in which each firm tries to get people to buy its own goods in preference to the other firms’ goods.

ACCORDING TO CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/english/competition

  1. A situation in which someone is trying to win something or be more successful than someone else:
  2. an organized event in which people try to win a prize by being the best, fastest, etc.:
  3. the person or people you are trying to be better than:
  4. an activity done by a number of people or organizations, each of which is trying to do better than all of the others
  5. The situation in which people or businesses are trying to be more successful than each other, for example by making more sales in a market.
  • The people or businesses who are competing with a particular person or business in a particular market:

REFERENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF COMPETITION IN ZIKORA

——– My colleague Donna was my closest competitor for making partner, the only woman as senior as me, and everyone knew the partners wanted a woman next. Donna was “child-free,” an expression she used often; she was thin and vegan and did yoga and wore dresses cut for flat-chested women. She watched me with the eyes of a person willing you to stumble. ——-

pg. 12 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. NEGLIGENCE OF PRIMOGENITURE

DEFINITION OF PRIMOGENITURE

  1. According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primogeniture#:~:text=Primogeniture%20(%2Fpra%C9%AAm,child%20or%20any%20collateral%20relative.

Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent’s entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative. In most contexts it means the inheritance of the firstborn son (agnatic primogeniture); it can also mean by the firstborn daughter (matrilineal primogeniture).

  • According to Merriam Webster dictionary

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/primogeniture

1: the state of being the firstborn of the children of the same parents

2: an exclusive right of inheritance belonging to the eldest son

  • According to Encyclopedia

https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/law/law/primogeniture

Primogeniture has two closely related meanings: (1) a principle of seniority and authority whereby siblings are ranked according to their ages, with the eldest coming first; and (2) a principle of inheritance, in which the firstborn child receives all or his parents’ most significant and valuable property upon their death. In most cases, the rules have been applied primarily or exclusively to males. But even where this is the case, the rule has often been interpreted flexibly. The Crown of England, for instance, has passed to the eldest daughter when a male heir was not available, as was the case with Elizabeth II in 1953.

  • According to Wiktionary

https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/primogeniture

  • The state of being the firstborn of the children of the same parents.
  • The principle that the eldest child has an exclusive right of inheritance.

REFERENCE OF THE EXISTENCE OF NEGLIGENCE OF PRIMOGENITURE IN ZIKORA

Certain aspects of Igbo culture like the precedence the males have when it comes to inheriting family property.

Tradition was not missing from the issues poked by the author. I find it ridiculous that the male children of the second wife are going to inherit Zikora’s mother’s wealth “according to tradition”

This show a negligence on the nature of primogeniture in the Igbo tradition, where Zikora who is the first child and the right owner to all the properties of her father.

REFERENCES 1

———- We laughed whenever I mimicked my law school classmate, a humorless American woman, face scrubbed, asking me to “acknowledge the contradiction” of my mother. It was after my presentation on traditional Igbo property laws, and I’d used my mother’s story: a woman from a wealthy family marries a man from a wealthy family, has one daughter, three miscarriages, and an emergency hysterectomy, after which her husband decides to marry again because he needs to have sons, and she agrees, and it is those sons who will inherit the family property. ———-

 pg. 23 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. SEX EDUCATION

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_education

Sex education is the instruction of issues relating to human sexuality, including emotional relations and responsibilities, human sexual anatomy, sexual activity, sexual reproduction, age of consent, reproductive health, reproductive rights, safe sex, birth control and sexual abstinence. Sex education that covers all of these aspects is known as comprehensive sex education.Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.

REFERENCE OF SEX EDUCATION IN ZIKORA

The author brought up the need to reform sex education in teenagers, most people, especially in men who think they know more about sex but actually they do not. This is absolutely true  This short story have more female character than male, but it is a direct message to all males.

The heart of the message lies in page 15:

———- “Men know very little about women’s bodies.”… “How can you say that?” I asked. “Seriously. Men don’t know how women’s bodies work… They learned instead from mainstream pornography, where women were always shaved smooth and never had periods, and so they became men who thought the contrived histrionics onscreen were How Things Were Done. [And so], It was possible that a sophisticated, well-educated man with a healthy sex life could still harbor a naivety, a shrunken knowledge, about the inner workings of female bodies.” ———-

REFERENCE 1

———- “I just don’t understand it. It’s as if an artery burst inside him and suddenly his whole body is wired differently and he is no longer the person he was,” I told Mmiliaku. “I don’t understand how we could have unprotected sex for so long and then when I get pregnant, he reacts like he never knew it could happen.” “Zikky, have you considered that maybe he didn’t know?” ———-

pg. 14 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

So, Zikora, a very professional and narrative way, is a book which based on sex education concerning female sexuality, specifically for male.

———-“What do you mean?” “Men know very little about women’s bodies.” I felt betrayed by her. I was annoyed, and wanted to tell her that not everyone was her Emmanuel, warped and stunted, raping her while she slept.

“How can you say that?” I asked.

“Seriously. Men don’t know how women’s bodies work. Remember Amaka, my friend from university? She moved to Canada some years ago. She has a blog where she interviews men anonymously. You should read it.”

Kwame thought I couldn’t get pregnant because I hadn’t explained that stopping birth control pills and not using condoms meant I could get pregnant? How ludicrous. I hung up, my dark day further darkened. Yet I began to think about it.

On the blog, I read about men who as boys were separated from the girls in sex ed class, and were never taught about the bodies of girls.  They learned instead from mainstream pornography, where women were always shaved smooth and never had periods, and so they became men who thought the contrived histrionics onscreen were How Things Were Done.

The blog annoyed me, and I resisted it while also seeing its sense. It was possible that a sophisticated, well-educated man with a healthy sex life could still harbor a naivety, a shrunken knowledge, about the inner workings of female bodies. Could it be that Kwame was fuzzy about this, that it had not occurred to him that I might get pregnant, that when he said “Okay, babes” to my “I’m stopping the pill,” it was not what I thought it was?

One sleepy weekend morning in his apartment, after slow sex, and a slower brunch of eggs I made and pancakes he made, he was playing a video game with lots of noise and flashes, and I was reading the news online, and I looked up and said, “Can you believe an elected US official

actually asked why women can’t hold their periods in?” I laughed, and so did he, but I remembered now his first fleeting reaction, the slightest of hesitations, as though he was holding back from saying, “You mean they can’t?”

And I thought about the night I was patting cream on my face and examining again the ugly brown-purple patch that had appeared on my cheek. “It has to be my birth control pills causing this,” I said, and there was again that small hesitation from him, a restraint, from discomfort

rather than deceit. I could have been clearer when I stopped the pill, we could have talked plainly, as we talked about so much. Did I choose to assume he understood, because I didn’t want to give him the chance to say he didn’t want a child? Now I was blaming myself. I was bearing the responsibility of a full-grown man. ———-

pg. 15 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. DESCRIPTION OF FEELING AND LOVE

DEFINITION OF LOVE

According to Wikipedia.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of meanings is that the love of a mother differs from the love of a spouse, which differs from the love of food. Most commonly, love refers to a feeling of strong attraction and emotional attachment.

According to merriam-webster

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/love

  1. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties maternal love for a child
  2. attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers
  3. affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
  4. an assurance of affection
  5. warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
  6. the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration

REFERENCE ON THE DESCRIPTION OF FEELING AND LOVE IN ZIKORA

Love. Even with the atmosphere of pain, betrayal and brokenness, we cannot deny the sprinkles of love scattered around the story. Zikora and Kwame love affair.

The main character, Zikora, at 39 fell in love with a Ghanaian “DC lawyer with his pocket full of cool”, Kwame, who was two years younger than she was and this knowledge sometimes made her actually feel “older” than he was.

Zikora’s father’s call after she gave birth, her mother’s promise to be there for her for as long as possible to nurse the baby, and so much more.

REFERENCE 1

——— We met at a book launch that I almost didn’t go to. A woman I worked with had left the firm to write a cookbook, and she launched it downtown in a rooftop space, with someone at the microphone describing each complicated canapé served. After the author introduced us, Kwame leaned toward me and said with a casual intimacy that wasn’t inappropriate, as though we already knew each other but only as good friends, “When they say something tastes nutty, do we know which nut they mean? Because a walnut tastes nothing like a cashew nut.” “I think they mean a texture, not a taste,” I said, then laughed, a little too eagerly, because I hadn’t expected to meet anyone and now here was a clean-looking Black man and a thrill in the air. On our first date he said, “Looking nutty good!”

He had a boyish quality, which was not, as in some men, mere cover for immaturity; he was a grown-up who could still touch in himself the wonder and innocence of childhood. Nutty became our word, an adverb, an endearment, an adjective, and even when it wasn’t funny, it was still ours.

On the day we broke up he said, looking me over, “Nutty dress.” Neither of us knew we would break up that evening as we went to his law firm’s gala, holding hands, him in a dark suit, me in an emerald dress, my hair in a bouncy twist-out, a young Black couple in Washington, DC, with glittering promise spread before us.

 I had never met a man like him, so attentive, so free of restlessness. He volunteered details about his life, and at first his openness confused me, because I dated men who were so guarded they made secrets of simple things.

When Kwame saw me, he let his face show its light—he didn’t hide, he didn’t pretend not to care too much. He said “I love you” before I did. He was supposed to be like other single, straight, successful Black men in Washington, DC: intoxicated by their own rarity, replete with romance opportunities, always holding out for the next better thing. For the first few weeks, I held my breath, waiting.

He was too much what I wanted, it was too good, he would change, crack open and reveal the sinister center. But he didn’t change, and soon I unfurled wholly into our life together. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 8 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- My father told jokes and laughed and charmed everyone, and broke things and walked on the shards without knowing he had broken things. He didn’t call on the day my son was born; he called the day after. “My girl!” he said to me. In the weak hospital Wi-Fi, his face froze on the screen, midsmile, and he looked for a moment like a caricature of himself, teeth bared, eyes widened. “Daddy,” I said happily.

To see him, all good humor and mischief, was to remember like a brief blur my life as it once was, when I was only a daughter, not a mother. “Congratulations, my princess! My beautiful girl!” my father said. “Where is my grandson?” ———-

pg. 22 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

——- “He looks just like me!” my father announced when my mother placed the phone above my son’s face. “Ziko, congratulations, God has blessed us,” Aunty Nwanneka said, and a slice of her face appeared above my father’s on the screen. “How are you feeling?” “Tired,” I said, and sensed my mother’s disapproval. She would have wanted me to tell Aunty Nwanneka that I was perfectly fine. “Aunty, congratulations,” Aunty Nwanneka said to my mother. She had always called my mother “Aunty” to show respect. “Thank you,” my mother said serenely. “My girl, is anybody else there with you apart from Mummy?” my father asked. ——–

pg. 23 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. PERSONALITY CHANGE

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_changes

Personality is the makeup of an individuals thinking, feeling, and behavior and is bound to change over the period of a lifetime. Although there is little research overall, there has been compelling initial evidence for personality change. The development of personality is often dependent on the stage of life a person is in, and the extent to which one’s levels of characteristics, relative to their age cohort, is stable across long periods of time.Cultural and environmental influence are large factors in personality trait differences.

ACCORDING TO THE WEBSITE DUALDIAGNOSIS

What do you do if you or someone you love undergoes a big personality change? A sudden personality change in an adult may be a warning sign of a number of problems.

If a loved one has been acting strangely or is suddenly concerning you with unusual behavior, it may be time to seek help.

 When Does a Personality Change Become Concerning?

A personality change occurs when a person has a dramatic change in appearance, actions, opinions or feelings. Gradual personality change is normal, and it is even normal for a person to experience some level of significant personality change over the course of adult life, especially as the result of trauma or success.

However, personality changes that are uncontrollable, uncomfortable, detrimental, or anxiety-provoking may be a sign of a deeper problem.

REFERENCE ON PERSONALITY CHANGE OF KWAME  IN ZIKORA

People change. Sometimes, it is almost as if people flip a switch in them and transform completely into another person. So much you begin to wonder if you really knew them. I don’t understand why Kwame who liked to talk things out suddenly turned an introvert.

Now, about kwame. I really don’t know what to say or think. So I need your opinions to come to a resolution.

Give these a thought as we proceed:

  1. Was it really a miscommunication?
  2. Was Zikora selfish by making the decision to keep the baby?
  3. Did he ever love her?

REFERENCE 1

———- On the day we broke up, we went back to my apartment after the gala, and I told Kwame, “So I’m very late and I’m never late.” He looked confused. “I might be pregnant.” I was so certain of his delight that I made my tone playful, almost singsong. But his face didn’t relax, instead it went still, as though all his features had paused, and suddenly this communicative man retreated into the cryptic. He said, “We’re at different places in our lives.” He said, “I’ll take care of everything,” in a voice that belonged to someone else, in words that he had heard somewhere else. Take care of everything. How absurd; we were both lawyers, and I earned a little more than he did. He said, “It’s a shock.”

I said, “You came inside me.” He said, “I thought you let me because you had protection.” I said, “What are you talking about? You know I stopped taking the pill because it made me fat, and I assumed you knew what it meant, what it could mean.” He said, “There was miscommunication.” “Kwame,” I said finally, in a plea and a prayer, looking at him, loving him.

 Our conversation felt juvenile; an unreal air hung over us. I wanted to say, “I’m thirty-nine and you’re thirty-seven, employed and stable, I have a key to your apartment, your clothes are in my closet, and I’m not sure what conversation we should be having but it shouldn’t be this one.”

I wanted to rewind and redo. Have us walk into my apartment again, laughing, me saying, Let’s make margaritas, and him saying, I really want a burger; I don’t know what that tiny Chilean bass thing at dinner was about. Then I saw it, the almost imperceptible shrug. A shrug. He shrugged. His response was a shrug. From the deepest vaults of his being, a shrug. “I think I should leave. Is that okay?” he asked as though he needed my permission to abandon me. He would kill you, but he would do it courteously. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 10-11 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- Some days I was fine and some days I was underwater, barely breathing. At my twenty-week checkup, I smiled at the moving grainy gray image on the ultrasound screen, flush with well-being, and I waved at the front-desk women as I left, but in the elevator, I burst into tears, a sudden sense of dissolving all around me. I sent Kwame a text: I’m 20 weeks today. He replied three days later: It’s manipulative to send me this. You know you made a decision that excluded me. I didn’t want things to end this way. I’m hurting too.

I read it over and over; it felt like something written by somebody who was not Kwame, like an exercise from law school, an argument about case law, hard and elegant and empty. To my Can we please at least talk? Kwame did not respond. Ours was an ancient story, the woman wants the baby and the man doesn’t want the baby and a middle ground does not exist.

What would a middle ground be? We couldn’t have half a baby. “Water, everyone at work knows I was dumped while pregnant,” I told Mmiliaku. “I hate the way they look at me.” “It’s all in your head,” Mmiliaku said. ———-

                                                                                    pg. 13 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. GENDER ROLES

DEFINITION OF GENDER ROLES

  1. According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_role

A gender role, also known as a sex role is a social role encompassing a range of behaviours and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex Gender roles are usually centred on conceptions of femininity and masculinity, although there are exceptions and variations.

  • According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender

Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e., the state of being male, female, or an intersex variation), sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gender identity.

  • According to other research by individuals

Gender refers to ways of being male and female within a culture or society. The larger group promotes a certain type of gender roles, responsibilities, and relationships for a male or female.. They can and have been changed as society progresses.

FEMALE GENDER/SEX ROLES

They include:

  1. Women are supposed to have “clean jobs” such as secretaries, teachers, and librarians
  2. Women are not good at maths
  3. Women are nurses, not doctors
  4. Women are not as strong as men
  5. Women are supposed to make less money than men
  6. The best women are stay at home moms
  7. Women don’t need to go to college
  8. Women don’t play sports
  9. Women are not politicians
  10. Women are quieter than men and not meant to speak out
  11. Women are supposed to be submissive and do as they are told
  12. Women are supposed to cook and do housework
  13. Women are responsible for raising children
  14. Women do not have technical skills and are not good at “hands on” projects such as car repairs
  15. Women are meant to be the damsel in distress; never the hero
  16. Women are supposed to look pretty and be looked at
  17. Women love to sing and dance
  18. Women do not play video games
  19. Women are never in charge
  20. Women should be secretaries
  1. Women should be “ladylike.”

MALE GENDER/SEX ROLES

Other gender/sex roles that describe all men are:

  1. All men enjoy working on cars
  2. Men are not nurses, they are doctors
  3. Men do “dirty jobs” such as construction and mechanics; they are not secretaries, teachers, or cosmetologists
  4. Men do not do housework and they are not responsible for taking care of children
  5. Men play video games
  6. Men play sports
  7. Men enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and hiking
  8. Men are in charge; they are always at the top
  9. As husbands, men tell their wives what to do
  10. Men are good at math
  11. It is always men who work in science, engineering, and other technical fields
  12. Men do not cook, sew, or do crafts or cooking
  13. Men should be macho.
  14. Men shouldn’t kindergarten teachers.

REFERENCE ON THE EXISTENCE OF GENDER ROLE IN ZIKORA

From the above analysis and detail examples of gender roles designated to both male and female in the society.  Am able to come with some prove to underpinned the existence of gender roles in the short story “Zikora”

REFERENCE 1

Mmiliaku husband uses the “gender role concept” to put an end to her job at a telecommunication company.

———- And Mmiliaku laughed some more. Mmiliaku, my cousin with the beautiful name, water of wealth, wealth’s water, wealth like a river. The cousin that was like a sister, clever. Mmiliaku, who had advised me and taught me things, was now marrying a man who had asked her to stop working because he could afford to keep her at home. ———-

pg. 10  Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. PATERNAL ABSENTEEISM  IN RELATIONS TO DENIAL AND REJECTION

ACCORDING TO THE SITE WIKIPEDIA.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_absence

Parental separation affects a child’s development. Early parental divorce (during primary school) has been associated with greater internalising and externalising behaviour problems in the child, while divorce later in childhood or adolescence may dampen academic performance. Children of unmarried parents tend to suffer greater emotional and social difficulties than others do.

Whilst father absence mainly results from parental divorce and separation, other factors such as family poverty, developmental difficulties have been associated with father absence, the effects of which have been explained by various theoretical approaches.

ACCORDING TO THE SITE PSYCHOLOGY

https://psychology.wikia.org/wiki/Parental_absence

Parental absence is the temporary or extended absence of one or more parent. This can have a substantial effect on the psychology of the child, depending on for example their age at separation, the context of the separation (e.g. divorce, legal separation) and the length of time involved.

Consequences can be clinical in nature for example anaclitic depression and separation anxiety and various behavioural problems and behaviour disorders can ensue. On the plus side some children can develop increased independence and a stronger sense of self confidence and self-esteem.

REFERENCE ON PATERNAL ABSENTEEISM IN RELATIONS TO DENIAL AND REJECTION IN ZIKORA

In Zikora, Chimamanda develops her perceived nature’s of imbalance or bias in assigning biological roles; the act of reproduction is carried out by two gender, yet only one is left to bear the pain of conception and birthing.

Yet, Zikora ends with a scene of an instance where men have abandoned their duties; and the women take on and are burdened by both the male duties and their own responsibilities. When Zikora, a DC lawyer from Nigeria, tells her Ghanian lover kwame that she’s pregnant, he abandons her.

It’s also seen in  Zikora father absent in terms of his second wife where his son ugbonna committed exam malpractice. He insisted that he leaves so he can correct the situation

REFERENCE 1

—–I reached for my phone. There was no response from Kwame. In a surge of disbelief and desperation, I sent another message: It’s a boy. Now that he knew it was no longer just about me, he might respond. Or appear at the hospital, holding a balloon and flowers, limp flowers from the supermarket because he wouldn’t have had time to go to a florist.  I felt pathetic. —-

pg. 17, 18 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- I checked my phone, still nothing from Kwame. I sent another text: Your son. I felt ragged and hopeless, high on my desperation. I had already ripped up my dignity, so I might as well scatter the pieces. I called him, and his phone rang and went to voice mail, and I called again, and again, and the fourth or fifth time, I heard a beep instead of a ringing, and I knew that he had just blocked my number. I closed my eyes. In my head, there was a queue of emotions I could not name, wanting to be tried out one after the other. A fog blanketed me, a kind of deadness. I didn’t cry; crying seemed too ordinary for this moment.

pg. 18, 19 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

———- “Sleep, try and sleep,” she said to me, but I couldn’t sleep. I hardly slept, and I could hear in the silence of my luxury apartment the gurgle of my son’s swallowing. My tear itched badly. My appetite grew with a fury, and I ate whole loaves of bread, large portions of salmon. The sun slanting through the windows my mother opened every morning. The tinkly music from my son’s crib mobile. The frequent flare of sad longing. I missed Kwame.

I looked ahead and saw a future dead with the weight of his absence. I thought of getting a new number and calling him, to tell him we could make it work, that he could do as little as he wanted as a father just as long as he was there. But I was wearied of his rejection, his ignoring my texts, his blocking my number, and I felt translucent, so fragile that one more rejection would make me come fully undone.

“Why don’t I call his parents? To inform them. They deserve to know,” my mother suddenly said one morning as she fed my son, and I was startled that she could read my mind.

“Who?” I asked foolishly. She looked at me evenly. “Kwame.” “No,” I said. “Not yet.” ———-

pg. 26, 27 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 4

———- The smaller nurse raised her eyebrows. It made no sense to be angry with the nurse, but I was angry with the nurse. Why did she have to make that face? Did it really surprise her? Did other mothers sit there overnight as my mother had, still as a coffin, glasses gold framed, face perfectly powdered in MAC NC45? Was she thinking that it should have been the father of my baby here with me? How dare she judge me? Was the father of her children in their life, what with her outlandish lashes and all?

She probably had three children, each with a different father, and here she was judging me for having a cold mother instead of a husband by my side. I would write a complaint about her ridiculous lashes. The labor and delivery ward needed to have a false-eyelash policy. I would have chosen a different hospital if my health insurance company hadn’t been so difficult about things. I felt angry and I felt ugly and I welcomed both like a bitter refuge.

The epidural man would not stop talking. “As still as you can, okay? Don’t flinch, okay?” I bent over and hugged the pillow and held still. There was the cold smear of a liquid on my back and the brief prick of a needle. ———-

pg. 7 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 4

———-Tears filled my eyes; my anger began to curdle into a darkness close to grief. It really should be Kwame here with me, holding me, sitting on the chair my mother was in, finding a way to make a joke about nutty . In a rush I reached for my cell phone and sent him a text: I’m in labor at East Memorial. I held on to my phone in the delivery room, and I kept checking it, willing Kwame’s reply to appear on the screen, until my doctor asked me to push. ———-

pg. 7, 8 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 5

———- “You are the senior wife, nothing will change that,” Aunty Uzo told my mother a few days after my father moved out of our house. My brother (my half brother) Ugonna, only in primary school, had been caught cheating on an exam. A teacher saw him sneak out a piece of paper from his pocket and shouted at him to hand it over, but instead of giving up the paper, Ugonna threw it in his mouth and swallowed. My father decided to move in with Aunty Nwanneka to set Ugonna right. “He needs to see me every morning when he wakes up. Boys can so easily go wrong, girls don’t go wrong,” he told my mother.

It was a Sunday, with the slow lassitude of Sundays in the air, and we were in the living room upstairs, playing cards, as we always did after lunch, before my father left to spend the rest of the day at Aunty Nwanneka’s. I remembered that afternoon in drawn-out, static images: my father blurting out the words, eyes trained on the cards in his hand, words he must have been thinking about how to say for days, and my mother staring at him, her body so rigid and still.

Later, she stood at the top of the stairs, in my father’s way, as he tried to go downstairs. She reached out and pushed him backward, and he, surprised, tottered. “This is not what we agreed!” she shouted. She was a different person, shaken, splintered, and she held on to the railings as though she might fall. My father left anyway. ———-

pg. 25 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

According to Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence

Domestic violence (also named domestic abuse or family violence) is violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence is often used as a synonym for intimate partner violence, which is committed by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner, and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners. In its broadest sense, domestic violence also involves violence against children, parents, or the elderly.

It takes a number of forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive, and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing that results in disfigurement or death. Domestic murders include stoning, bride burning, honor killings, and dowry deaths (which sometimes involve non-cohabitating family members).

EVIDENCE FROM “”ZIKORA”” TO SUPPORT THE OCCURRENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

They are 3 major form of violence that occur in the novel, which I personally will use to explain my own evidence/prove of domestic violence. They are

  1. emotional/psychological abuse
  2. sexual abuse
  3. social abuse
  4. financial abuse
  1. EMOTIONAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE

Emotional/psychological abuse is a tool used by those who want to make their partners feel scared, crazy, worthless, or responsible for the abuse. The abuser’s goal is control over the victim. Emotional abuse may include:

  • Making jokes about the victim
  • threats
  •  isolation
  • unrelenting criticism,
  • constant personal devaluation, and
  • Insults
  • Criticizing the victim’s competence
  • Ignoring the victim’s feelings
  • Withholding affection as a form of punishment
  • Blaming the victim for all problems
  • Yelling at the victim
  • Humiliating the victim in front of others
  • Accusing the victim of being the abusive partner
  • Threatening to take the children away from the victim
  • Threatening physical violence
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Hiding or destroying important belongings
  • Frequent demands to know where she is and with whom
  • Alienation/Separation from family and friends
  • Public humiliation
  • Blocking your partner call lines

In reference to Zikora, the emotional violence that occur in the story include:

  • Ignoring the victim’s feelings
  • Withholding affection as a form of punishment
  • Blocking your partner call lines

REFERENCE 1

———- Some days I was fine and some days I was underwater, barely breathing. At my twenty-week checkup, I smiled at the moving grainy gray image on the ultrasound screen, flush with well-being, and I waved at the front-desk women as I left, but in the elevator, I burst into tears, a sudden sense of dissolving all around me. I sent Kwame a text: I’m 20 weeks today. He replied three days later: It’s manipulative to send me this. You know you made a decision that excluded me. I didn’t want things to end this way. I’m hurting too.

I read it over and over; it felt like something written by somebody who was not Kwame, like an exercise from law school, an argument about case law, hard and elegant and empty. To my Can we please at least talk? Kwame did not respond. Ours was an ancient story, the woman wants the baby and the man doesn’t want the baby and a middle ground does not exist.

What would a middle ground be? We couldn’t have half a baby. “Water, everyone at work knows I was dumped while pregnant,” I told Mmiliaku. “I hate the way they look at me.” “It’s all in your head,” Mmiliaku said.  ———–

                                                                                    pg. 10-11 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

—–I reached for my phone. There was no response from Kwame. In a surge of disbelief and desperation, I sent another message: It’s a boy. Now that he knew it was no longer just about me, he might respond. Or appear at the hospital, holding a balloon and flowers, limp flowers from the supermarket because he wouldn’t have had time to go to a florist.  I felt pathetic. —-

pg. 17,18  Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 3

———- I checked my phone, still nothing from Kwame. I sent another text: Your son. I felt ragged and hopeless, high on my desperation. I had already ripped up my dignity, so I might as well scatter the pieces. I called him, and his phone rang and went to voice mail, and I called again, and again, and the fourth or fifth time, I heard a beep instead of a ringing, and I knew that he had just blocked my number.

I closed my eyes. In my head, there was a queue of emotions I could not name, wanting to be tried out one after the other. A fog blanketed me, a kind of deadness. I didn’t cry; crying seemed too ordinary for this moment. ———-

pg. 18, 19 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 4

———- “Sleep, try and sleep,” she said to me, but I couldn’t sleep. I hardly slept, and I could hear in the silence of my luxury apartment the gurgle of my son’s swallowing. My tear itched badly. My appetite grew with a fury, and I ate whole loaves of bread, large portions of salmon. The sun slanting through the windows my mother opened every morning. The tinkly music from my son’s crib mobile. The frequent flare of sad longing. I missed Kwame.

I looked ahead and saw a future dead with the weight of his absence. I thought of getting a new number and calling him, to tell him we could make it work, that he could do as little as he wanted as a father just as long as he was there. But I was wearied of his rejection, his ignoring my texts, his blocking my number, and I felt translucent, so fragile that one more rejection would make me come fully undone.

“Why don’t I call his parents? To inform them. They deserve to know,” my mother suddenly said one morning as she fed my son, and I was startled that she could read my mind.

“Who?” I asked foolishly. She looked at me evenly. “Kwame.” “No,” I said. “Not yet.” ———-

pg. 26, 27 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

SEXUAL ABUSE

Sexual abuse is one of the least discussed, but most common, forms of domestic violence. Sexual abuse includes:

  • Sexual jokes that make the victim uncomfortable
  • Treating women as sex objects
  • Criticizing the victim’s sexuality
  • Using sexual jealousy as a tool of control
  • Uncomfortable or unwanted touch
  • Withholding sex as punishment
  • Demanding sex
  • Flaunting affairs
  • Rape
  • Sex after beatings
  • Forcing the victim to witness or participate in sexual activity with others
  • Sexually assaulting the victim in front of the children
  • Sexual torture – Forced sexual activities with abuser and/or others
  • Forced prostitution
  • exotic dancing
  • Threatening to sexually abuse children
  • Refusing to use or allowing contraception use
  • Public display of extramarital affairs
  • Forcing victim to watch batterer have sex with others
  • Forcing harmful sexual acts against the wish of the person

In reference to Zikora, sexual abuse that occur in the story include:

  • Rape
  • Forcing harmful sexual acts against the wish of the person

Further into the story, the theme of rape was highlighted, but still visible enough to be seen, but the one thing that got my head spinning was the realization that Mmiliaku, Zikora’s cousin was in fact being raped while at sleep by her very own husband, Emmanuel.

REFERENCE 1

In sexual encounters where conception was never intended, for instance, among school mates, unmarried couple, rape (within and outside marriage), the male is simply interested in the satisfaction of his urges, the female is the object of his satisfaction, and the outcome is her business to deal with. She paints this fact in Mmiliaku’s marital life.

———- “Water, this is why it’s best to wait for the right person, and not just settle,” I said over FaceTime to my cousin Mmiliaku. I was boasting actually, a callous boast. Only days before, Mmiliaku had said, “Emmanuel still waits until I’m asleep, then he climbs on me, and of course I’m dry and I wake up in pain. Sixteen years.” ———-

pg. 10 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- “I just don’t understand it. It’s as if an artery burst inside him and suddenly his whole body is wired differently and he is no longer the person he was,” I told Mmiliaku. “I don’t understand how we could have unprotected sex for so long and then when I get pregnant, he reacts like he never knew it could happen.”

“Zikky, have you considered that maybe he didn’t know?”

“What do you mean?” “Men know very little about women’s bodies.” I felt betrayed by her. I was annoyed, and wanted to tell her that not everyone was her Emmanuel, warped and stunted, raping her while she slept. ———-

pg. 14-15 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

SOCIAL ABUSE

Social abuse is used to isolate the victim from others in the community. The fewer people the victim is connected with, the more control the abuser has over the victim. Examples of social abuse include:

  • Insisting that the couple spend all time together
  • Discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family
  • Forbidding the victim to see friends or family
  • Monitoring the victim’s mail or phone calls
  • Restricting access to the car or car keys
  • Telling others the victim is crazy or abusive

In reference to Zikora, social abuse that occur in the story include:

  • Discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family
  • Forbidding the victim to see friends or family

REFERENCE 1

———-And Mmiliaku laughed some more. Mmiliaku, my cousin with the beautiful name, water of wealth, wealth’s water, wealth like a river. The cousin that was like a sister, clever. Mmiliaku, who had advised me and taught me things, was now marrying a man who had asked her to stop working because he could afford to keep her at home. They had been married only a few weeks when Emmanuel said he didn’t want her best friend to visit them anymore because married women shouldn’t keep single friends. ———-

pg. 10 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

FINANCIAL ABUSE

Abusers often attempt to establish financial control over victims. Victims who are financially dependent on abusers have fewer resources for escape. Financial abuse includes:

  • Making all financial decisions for the household
  • Keeping financial secrets
  • Monitoring the victim’s spending
  • Controlling the victim’s access to cash
  • Controlling the victim’s access to chequebook or credit cards
  • Refusing to let the victim work
  • Forcing the victim to turn over income to the abuser
  • Taking person’s earned income
  • Making person beg for money

In reference to Zikora, sexual abuse that occur in the story include:

  • Making all financial decisions for the household
  • Refusing to let the victim work

REFERENCE 1

———- And Mmiliaku laughed some more. Mmiliaku, my cousin with the beautiful name, water of wealth, wealth’s water, wealth like a river. The cousin that was like a sister, clever. Mmiliaku, who had advised me and taught me things, was now marrying a man who had asked her to stop working because he could afford to keep her at home. ———-

pg. 10  Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. CIRCUMCISION

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision#:~:text=Circumcision%20is%20the%20removal%20of,the%20foreskin%20is%20cut%20off.

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common procedure, the foreskin is opened, adhesions are removed, and the foreskin is separated from the glans. After that, a circumcision device may be placed, and then the foreskin is cut off. Topical or locally injected anesthesia is used to reduce pain and physiologic stress.

The procedure is most often an elective surgery performed on babies and children for religious or cultural reasons. Medically, circumcision is a treatment option for problematic cases of phimosis and balanoposthitis that do not resolve with other treatments, and for chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs).  It is contraindicated in cases of certain genital structure abnormalities or poor general health.

REFERENCES OF CIRCUMCISION BEARING IN ZIKORA

The book also touch on circumcision, how men also feel the pain of been circumcised in our society. The discussion of circumcision appear after Zikora gave birth to her baby boy in the hospital, Zikora mother brought the topic out. This is show in the reference below;

REFERENCE 1

———- Then she looked away and asked the doctor a question. “Will it be possible to have his circumcision today?”

“Not until he has urinated,” the doctor said. “And I don’t do circumcisions. It’ll be done by another doctor.” “And when can we expect him to urinate?” my mother asked.

“I won’t circumcise him,” I said. How could they be having a conversation while he slid needle and thread in and out of my flesh?

“Of course you will circumcise him,” my mother said coolly. “I won’t!” I said, my voice raised, and for a moment I felt an intense desire to pass out and escape my life.

“Done,” my doctor said, still holding the needle. “It should heal nicely.” My mother was asking about the circumcision consent forms. “Can we get them today?” “I said I won’t circumcise him.” “Why?” She trained her eyes on me.

“Barbarism,” I said, surprising myself, remembering a post on a pregnancy website. You Americans may circumcise, but we don’t do barbarism here in Europe. The only reason it’s tolerated at all is so we don’t get called Islamophobic.

I mostly ignored posts about baby boys because I thought I was having a girl, I sensed it, and all the mythical girl signs were there: I carried the pregnancy high, I had bad morning sickness, my skin turned greasy.

But I remembered the post because I had disagreed, bristled at it. Now it was convenient ammunition. “Circumcision is barbaric,” I said. “Why should I cause my child pain?” “Cause your child pain?” my mother repeated as if I was making no sense. ———-

pg. 18  Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

REFERENCE 2

———- When my mother left the room, the smaller nurse gently asked, “Is it really about causing Baby pain?” I stared at her. Her eyelashes made her eyes doll-like and difficult to take seriously.

 “Baby won’t remember the pain. If everyone in your culture does it, you should do it too. Kids hate being different. I used to work in a pediatrician’s office and that’s one thing I learned. We don’t have kids yet, my fiancé is training to be a police officer, but I’m keeping that in mind for my kids.” She held the circumcision consent forms in her hand for a moment before placing them on the table.

Something about her manner made sobs gather at my throat. Compassion. She thought what I was feeling mattered. Had I missed it before or had she suddenly changed? “Thank you,” I said, wanting to say sorry, too, wanting to reach out to hold her hand, even though I knew it might be a bit too much, but she had turned to leave.

“I don’t know if I want to circumcise him,” I told my doctor.

“It’s your decision. Boys live happy lives whether circumcised or not.” It felt to me a glib thing to say. “Are you?” I asked. “What?” “Are you circumcised?” I could ask him that, surely, after the shared intimacy of delivering my baby. ———-

pg. 19 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

  1. MATERNAL MORTALITY

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maternal_death#:~:text=Maternal%20death%20or%20maternal%20mortality,its%20management%20but%20not%20from

Maternal death or maternal mortality is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.

REFERENCE OF CIRCUMCISION BEARING IN ZIKORA

REFERENCE 1

As Zikora experience her childbirth in the hospital she did a reflection about her sister who died in the hospital, she was relating it to her.

———- Then came a wave of exhaustion, a tiredness limp and bloodless. I was leaving my body. I could die. I could die here, now, today, like Chinyere died in a fancy Lagos hospital that had flat-screen TVs in the labor ward. It was her third childbirth and she was walking, chatting with the nurses, stopping to breathe through each contraction, and then midsentence, she paused and collapsed and died. She was my cousin’s cousin. I had not liked her but I had mourned her.

My heart was beating fast. I’d read somewhere that maternal mortality was higher in America than anywhere else in the Western world —or was it just higher for Black women? The subject had never really interested me. I’d felt at most a faraway concern, as though it was something that happened to other people. I should have paid more attention. Now I would die in this hospital room with its rolling table and its picture of faded flowers on the wall, and become a tiny nameless dot in the data, and somebody somewhere would read a new report on maternal mortality and mildly wonder if it was Black women who died more often. ———-

pg. 19 Zikora, Amazon Original Stories

CONCLUSION

As much as the ending was an unexpected one, with a lot of questions hanging in the air?

  • Did Kwame ever get to see his child?
  • Were Kwame’s parents informed about the child? And what was their reaction?

Chimamanda did write another story worth reading and memorizing even.

RECOMMENDATION

Zikora is a thought-provoking book in the fiction genre. It is interesting to read. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to read a very engaging short story. Most especially I recommend it for men/boys. If you haven’t read or listened to Zikora, I strongly recommend that you do so. If you have read it, Kindly share in the comment section how you felt about the book.

QUOTES IN ZIKORA

Here are some quote from the story that resonated with me.

  • “You cannot nice yourself into being loved”.
  • “It was possible that a sophisticated, well-educated man with a healthy sex life could still harbor a naivety, a shrunken knowledge, about the inner workings of female bodies.”
  • “I read somewhere that love was about this, the nuggets of knowledge about our beloved that we so fluently hold”.

HILARIOUS LINES

There were some hilarious lines:

  1. They had been married only a few weeks when Emmanuel said he didn’t want her best friend to visit them anymore because married women shouldn’t keep single friends. I once told Kwame the story, and he rolled his eyes in a kind of disbelieving amusement. “What that the single friend will seduce the husband or the single friend will make the wife want to be single again?”
  • Ours was an ancient story, the woman wants the baby and the man doesn’t want the baby and a middle ground does not exist. What would a middle ground be? We couldn’t have half a baby.
  • “I don’t understand how we could have unprotected sex for so long and then when I get pregnant, he reacts like he never knew it could happen.”
  • My mother asked me not to go. “Stay and stand by me,” my mother said, and I scoffed silently, thinking she was being dramatic. Chill out, it’s not as if this is a blood feud. I went to the party.
  • A funny conversation between zikora and her mother

Zikora: “Mummy, I would die for him,”

{I said, partly to make peace with her and partly because I needed to speak this miraculous momentous thing that was true. }

Zikora mother: “Thank God you managed to get pregnant at your age,”

Zikora: “What?”

Zikora mother: “Many women find it difficult at your age.”

{Why was this an appropriate response? How was this an appropriate response? For long moments I could not find any words to fling at her.}

Zikora:  “I’ve been pregnant before, so I knew very early on,”

{I said finally. She said nothing. She began looking through the file the lactation nurse had left on the table.}

Zikora: “Thank God I was able to remove that pregnancy,”

{ I said. Her silence bruised the air between us. “I was so relieved,” I said.

Zikora mother; “Some things are better left unsaid.”

{She turned away. I wanted to wound her, but I wasn’t sure why I chose this to wound her with. Now her indifference grated. Did it even matter to her? And what would matter—that I ended a pregnancy, that I got pregnant at nineteen,  that she hadn’t known?}

  • Once, I screamed, a short scream that lanced the air in the hospital room, and she said, “That’s how labor is,” in Igbo, and I wanted to say, “No shit,” but of course she didn’t understand colloquial Americanisms.
  • “Bring your feet up and let your legs fall apart,” she said. “What?” “Bring your feet up and let your legs fall apart.” Let your legs fall apart.

What did that even mean? How could legs fall apart? I began to laugh.

  • I pushed out a baby boy. Wrinkled and silent, scaly skinned, wet black curls plastered on his head. He came out with his mouth full of shit, and the bigger nurse, chuckling, said, “Not the best first meal,” while somebody swiftly took him away to suction the feces from his mouth.
  1. “When they say something tastes nutty, do we know which nut they mean? Because a walnut tastes nothing like a cashew nut.” “I think they mean a texture, not a taste,” I said, then laughed, a little too eagerly, because I hadn’t expected to meet anyone and now here was a clean-looking Black man and a thrill in the air. On our first date he said, “Looking nutty good!”
  • “I don’t know if I want to circumcise him,” I told my doctor.

“It’s your decision. Boys live happy lives whether circumcised or not.” It felt to me a glib thing to say. “Are you?” I asked. “What?” “Are you circumcised?” I could ask him that, surely, after the shared intimacy of delivering my baby. ———-

  • The first time I knelt naked in front of him, he yanked a fistful of my braids, then pushed at my head so that I gagged. It was a gesture replete with unkindness. He could have done it differently, had he wanted me to do things differently, but that push was punitive, an action whose theme was the word bitch .

QUESTIONS FOR MY READERS

I will like to ask a simple question for my fellow readers and viewers.

  1. What is your own views and contributions on this review about the short story?
  2. Should sex education be taught in secondary schools?
  3. Do you agree the society perception about gender role designated to male and female is wrong or right?
  4. In your own environment, is circumcision advisable?
  5. Is the author supportive of abortion? if yes or no give reasons.

Please let me know all your reactions, views and insights in the comment box below!

Written by:

Kogwuonye Patrick Onyeka

Writer/Blogger/Educator/Tutor

University of Benin

http://www.facebook.com/patrickstories

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