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The Bride Price Essay

The Bride Price, a story written by Buchi Emecheta, reflects a misery life of a Nigerian girl, Aku-nna. The absent of her father in the family had dramatically changed her life. Her bride price that she would get before getting married caused many troubles within her family. After reading this story, we can see the practice of customs, the system of value and the belief of local Nigerians are the main themes discussed in the story. First of all, it’s about practice of customs. As you might know it in the story, people in the story took their customs seriously.

One of the customs is that a girl whose hair was cut by a man would become the man’s wife for her whole life. Therefore, every girl in the story was very caution with some men waiting cut her hair and not wanting to pay for the bride price. Another custom is that a girl whose husband died would become her husband’s brother’s wife regardless he was single or married and she could not refuse it. Plus, everything the husband had had was also inherited. Included everything, Ma Blackie, after her husband’s death, was inherited to her husband’s brother, which was very shocked.

For this reason, we can say the customs at that time was conservative and bizarre. Secondly, the story reflects how badly people treat those who were slaves or whose ancestors used to be slaves. The system value was completely awful that people were full of prejudice ideas. Like Chike, whose ancestors were slaves, fell in love with a girl of a free family, but he was being separated by her family and his family’s enemy. Being one of teachers of Ibuza, and Akuna’s teacher, he was very well educated, but the thing is his family used to be slaves. Therefore, no matter how well educated he was, he couldn’t marry a girl of a free family.

In addition to the system value, people considered men as superior to women. Every family wanted to have a male child rather than a female child as they believed the female could not do anything besides being a house wife. That she was educated could only add some money to her bride price and that was it. Ma Blackie, Akunna’s mother, was one of educated women. However, it did not change the fact that she was going to be an inferior house wife and every decision had to be decided by her husband. Moreover, the society in the story was a polygamous one. Men could have more than one wife as long as he did not refuse.

Okonkwo who had lready had three wives had another wife, Ma Blackie. Overall, it is the same thing happening in The-Rain-Came society. The chief would marry another wife if his wife could not bear a female child. Last but not least, the story shows us about superstition. Like in the story where it said any girl whose parents did not accept her bride price would die at the first birth of her child. Akunna was very worried and didn’t eat much. Therefore, she was getting thinner and thinner. When the giving birth day came, she died after successfully giving a birth to her child, but in fact, it was because she was so young and small as if she was 14.

In addition to superstition, people believed hitting a puppet considered as someone would bring suffering to that someone. In Nigeria, a medicine man, with special ability, could use his magic to help or destroy other people. In Ibuza, if people wanted to destroy someone, they went to that medicine man to make a doll which looked exactly like a person they wanted to curse and pushed a sharp needle into the doll’s heart that made that person died slowly and painfully, hence Okonkwo used that kind of puppet to bring Akunna back home.

In short, the story was totally addictive which made me unable to stop reading. It showed The-Bride-Price society was absolutely awful and terrible that the practice of customs, the system of values, and the beliefs of people were all unacceptable, which made me come to a conclusion that the society at that time was less developed and very unfair to some of them. Moreover, I can say people did not value the education, which leaded them to this nonsense living condition. If we do not want this, we should encourage people to go to school.


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