The central theme of the novel is that of the constant battle between the oppression of women caused by societal tradition and the modern freedoms that women are beginning to demand.
The main example of this within the novel's characters is Esi.
Virginia was one among many documenting civil rights cases during the 1960's.
Now more than 40 years later what makes the story so compelling, is not just the courage of its participants but the love that drove them to fight for their cause.
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Since he is a terrible husband she realizes that her sacrifice was not worth it. Women somehow excuse this because he is intelligent and a smooth talker.
Esi's first husband, Oko, is not a cheat or a philanderer, and is actually a rather good husband, but he resents her success, and wants her to conform to the more traditional picture that he has of what his wife should be - home, looking after him, and having more children.
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