Theme Of A Question Of Power By Bessy Head

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A Question of Power is a novel written by Bessy Head in 1973.The novel explores the idea of the strong patriarchal society exploiting the other submissive groups and people. Head has very clearly shown examples of women being exploited by the hands of men to the extent of being driven to madness. By taking the protagonist Elizabeth example,Bessy Head shows how Sello and Dan, who used to have intercourse with her were the ones who were sexually deviant and they used to take out all the frustrations of their life on her, so her experiences with Sello and Dan left her physically and mentally abused and traumatised. The novel, being written from a women’s point of view very clearly shows the oppression of white males (Americans).Her experiences of being sexually abused left her with a very fickle state of mind and at one point she also points out that she has become a “highly collapsible material”.Also, Elizabeth, the young African girl, becomes a symbol of the country South Africa and how it was being stripped of its power because of racism and slavery. Elizabeth also becomes a symbol of several other black women who were tortured sexually and mentally and were not allowed any sort of creative freedom and expression. Since they had no way of taking out the frustration, if these women had outbursts or when they spoke for themselves and against the oppression and the oppressors, they were considered mad. Bessy Head is also pointing to the definition of ‘madness’ during that time
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